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Food Insecurity Among South Asian Immigrant Communities in the Inland Empire of Southern California

Authors: Farhan Danish

Publication: CSUSB ScholarWorks

Date: June 2019


Background: Food insecurity amongst South Asian Americans is a major public health issue. The South Asian American (SAA) community is the third largest Asian community in the United States. Despite this fact, very few specific studies have been conducted to investigate the food needs and barriers that exist within the SAA community so as to successfully help them improve dietary habits.

Methods: This study utilized a mixed methods convergent parallel design, where both qualitative and quantitative methods were conducted and analyzed separately and compared and contrasted at the end.

Results: The results of this study demonstrate that ethnic grocery stores were limited and scattered for the population to access them. Also, some ingredients used by the population were not available in general grocery stores and the pricing was considerably higher. Results of the focus group show that what was considered healthy in their home country would be expensive in the United States and thus switching to cheaper options in the new country was norm. Furthermore, cultural/religious appropriate food items were limited due to cost and often impacted participants’ dietary behavior. In addition to expense, the availability of ethnic-specific food ingredients was limited and/or would require significant travel to obtain them, and thus further contributed to change their dietary habits.

Conclusion: The results of the study highlight the need for more interventions focusing on the food habits of the SAA population, in terms of availability of ingredients and accessibility to the ethnic grocery stores in the Inland Empire of Southern California.