Social network characteristics are correlated with dietary patterns among middle aged and older South Asians living in the United States (U.S.)

Sameera A. Talegawkar, Nicola Lancki, Yichen Jin, Juned Siddique, Meghana Gadgil, Alka M. Kanaya, John A. Schneider, Linda Van Horn, Lawrence De Koning, Namratha R. Kandula*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Social and cultural norms, operating through social networks, may influence an individual's dietary choices. We examined correlations between social network characteristics and dietary patterns among South Asians in the United States (U.S.) Methods: Data from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) Social Network study were analyzed among 756 participants (mean age = 59 y standard deviation [SD] = 9 y; 44% women). A culturally adapted, validated food frequency questionnaire was used for dietary assessment. A posteriori dietary patterns using principal component analysis were named 1) animal protein, 2) fried snacks, sweets and high-fat dairy, and 3) fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. Social network characteristics were assessed using a standard egocentric approach, where participants (egos) self-reported data on perceived dietary habits of their network members. Partial correlations between social network characteristics and egos' dietary patterns were examined. Results: The mean social network size of egos was 4.2 (SD = 1.1), with high proportion of network members being family (72%), South Asian ethnicity (89%), and half having daily contact. Animal protein pattern scores were negatively correlated with fruits and cooked vegetables consumption of network. Fried snacks, sweets and high-fat dairy pattern scores were positively correlated with sugar-sweetened beverages, South Asian sweets, fried/fast foods and ghee (clarified butter) consumption of network. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes pattern scores were positively correlated with vegetables, fruits, and brown rice/quinoa consumption of network. Conclusions: Network member characteristics and their perceived dietary behaviors were correlated with dietary patterns of egos. Dietary intervention studies among South Asians should consider social network characteristics as candidate components for dietary intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
JournalBMC Nutrition
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 11 2020

Keywords

  • Acculturation
  • Diet
  • Dietary behavior
  • Social networking
  • South Asians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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