November 20, 2018

Association of cultural affinity and island food consumption in the Pacific Islander health study

N.K. Baumhofer, S.V. Panapasa, E.F. Cook and D.R. Williams

Pending PubMed Central Publication
Ethnicity & Health

Objectives:  The dietary patterns of Pacific Islander Americans are partially influenced by a rich cultural heritage. There is little known about how cultural affinity affects the dietary choices of this small, but quickly growing population. This analysis attempts to understand how the association of cultural affinity on island foods consumption (IFC) varies by key demographic characteristics.

Design:  A sample of 240 Samoan and Tongan adults in California from the Pacific Islander Health Study (PIHS) was used. Psychometric properties of a novel 11-item cultural affinity scale were assessed. Univariate and bivariate analyses of the cultural affinity scale were completed to understand the distribution of cultural affinity score. Separate multivariable Poisson regression was used to assess the effect of interactions between cultural affinity and five key demographic factors on IFC.

Results:  Psychometric analysis of the PIHS cultural affinity scale revealed two unique factors. Significant interactions were found between cultural affinity and ethnicity and birthplace: the association between cultural affinity and IFC was larger among Samoans compared to Tongans and Samoan or Tongan birthplace was found to have a weaker association between cultural affinity and IFC. Interactions between cultural affinity and age, financial insecurity, and educational attainment were not significant.

Conclusion:  Understanding how cultural affinity varies in its effect on IFC is a part of understanding overall dietary patterns in this population.

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