Psychological Distress Is Associated with Inadequate Dietary Intake in Vietnamese Marriage Immigrant Women in Korea

Ji Yun Hwang, Sang Eun Lee, Sun Hye Kim, Hye Won Chung, Wha Young Kim

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24 Scopus citations


Previous studies have reported that the nutritional status of Vietnamese female marriage immigrants in Korea is inadequate. And the mediation of acculturation stress can contribute to problems in their eating practices and dietary intakes. This study examines an association between psychological distress and inadequate dietary intake in Vietnamese female marriage immigrants living in Korea. A cross-sectional study analyzed baseline data (n=570) from the Cohort of Intermarried Women in Korea. Daily nutrient intakes were compared according to the quartiles of distress scores assessed by the Psychological Well-Being Index-Short Form. One-way analysis of variance and χ2 tests were used to compare eating practices and nutrient intake across quartiles of psychological distress. Subjects in the highest stress scores were more likely to skip breakfast and to change their dietary habits after living in Korea than those in groups with low stress scores. Analyses of the subjects' Mini Dietary Assessments revealed that those with the highest stress scores were less likely to consume milk or dairy products, eat regular meals, or have balanced diets than those with the lowest stress scores. Nutrient intakes were found to be inadequate in the subjects, and those with the highest stress scores showed lower consumptions of energy, carbohydrate, protein, fat, calcium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, and folate compared to those with the lowest scores. The prevalence of underweight (body mass index [calculated as kg/m2] <18.5) increased from the lowest to highest quartiles of psychological distress scores. Psychological distress in Vietnamese female marriage immigrants living in Korea was negatively associated with dietary intake. These findings can assist dietetics practitioners working with minority immigrants because such information is important in designing appropriate strategies for dietary counseling. A follow-up study should address the underlying mechanisms of the observed diet-distress association in Vietnamese marriage immigrant women in Korea, as well as other various ethnic minority immigrants in Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-785
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
FUNDING/SUPPORT: This study was supported by a grant from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( 2006-347-2910-213-207 and 2007-090-091-4854-300 ) and by the second stage of the BK21 Project in 2008.


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