Dietary Transition of Korean-Americans

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John Wargo
Essay Abstract: 
The purpose of this thesis is to research the catalysts that play a role in the Korean American’s transition from their traditional Korean diet to a more Westernized one, even though the Korean diet is generally much healthier than the typical American diet. To address this inquiry, I apply scholastic articles on acculturation, books on the Westernization of immigrants, and my own data I had collected from interviews with recent Korean American immigrants in Irvine, California and New Haven, Connecticut. I also integrate the role of Korean restaurant managers in maintaining Korean foods and culture. My analysis proposes that the driving factors of Korean Americans’ dietary transition and choices are personal taste, texture and appearance, food availability, accessibility and cost, social and cultural coercion from neighbors and family members, and acculturation. In conclusion, to address the health and cultural issues that have developed from the dietary transition, policy-makers, nutrition specialists and communities should create initiatives that increase food availability and accessibility to ethnic food markets, educate immigrants about the nutritional value of ethnic foods, and teach them modern approaches to preparing ethnic foods.