Acculturation, but to what extent……

Acculturation is the process whereby immigrants incorporate or adopt the cultural patterns such as values, behaviors, norms, attitudes and beliefs of the host country. Acculturation can significantly impact the health outcome for minorities, particularly for minorities whose primary language is different from the host country such as older migrants to the USA, UK or Australia for whom English is their second language. Acculturation can help navigate the healthcare system including obtaining information on diseases preventative measures such as screening, physical activity and access to other healthcare resources.

However, findings including report from the United Nations indicate that while sub-Saharan Africans have among the lowest incidence on obesity on the African continent, upon migration to industrialized countries sub-Saharan African migrants have increased incidence of obesity and obesity-related diseases (Healthy migrant). Similarly, Japanese migrants have the lowest incidence of colon and prostate cancer in their native countries; however 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese migrants to the USA and who adopt the Western dietary pattern have increased cancer risk comparable to their European-American counterpart.

Therefore migrants must maintain some elements of their traditional cultural practices, particularly healthy dietary habits, active lifestyle and healthy body weight.

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