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01.10.2012 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 5/2012

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 5/2012

Barriers to Lifestyle Behavioral Change in Migrant South Asian Populations

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health > Ausgabe 5/2012
Mihir Patel, Erica Phillips-Caesar, Carla Boutin-Foster


The purpose of this literature review is to describe and assess the cultural barriers to behavior change in migrant South Asians, given the high morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease in this population. We reviewed studies that explored the relationship between South Asian culture in the Diaspora and lifestyle behaviors. Our review produced 91 studies, of which 25 discussed the relationship between various aspects of South Asians’ belief system and their approach to modifying lifestyle habits. We identify 6 specific categories of beliefs which play the largest role in the difficulties South Asians describe with behavior change: gender roles, body image, physical activity misconceptions, cultural priorities, cultural identity, and explanatory model of disease. Future research and interventions should account for these cultural factors to successfully improve dietary habits and physical activity levels in migrant South Asian populations.

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