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Newcomers and Dietary acculturation

Upon arrival to Western Countries such as Canada or the United States, most newcomers are usually in good health or have fewer health problems, but do not always keep the same ‘shape’ as time elapses (1). In fact, entering a new country reflects a new lifestyle change, especially when it comes to food and nutrition since it can be very different from their native country.

Many newcomers get stressed when they arrive to a new Western nation. Some even leave many family members behind which in turn, reduces their social support.

Western countries also have a different food environment compared to many other countries. In Canada, people usually have access to many food chain restaurants and junk food that may be unhealthy for some newcomers (2). In the long term, newcomers will have to adapt their eating habits with the new food environment of the host country also known as ‘Dietary acculturation’. Many newcomers also do not speak the language of the host country. Indeed, there is a language barrier limiting some from understanding and accessing health care services.

In some cases, it does not always have a positive impact on newcomers’ health leading them to develop obesity and certain chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, certain cancers and other health conditions.

Today, policy makers still need to improve and implement new health care strategies to help newcomers including many other Canadians to reduce the risk illness. This is when it becomes important to seek for health professionals and get the right nutritional advice and information to help improve your overall health and prevent health complications. In the long term, the increased cases of chronic conditions will increase the cost of our health care system.

Contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian today and learn how to adapt to the new Western diet by keeping your native eating habits and enjoy every meal with pleasure.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3895180/
  2. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/pol/som-ex-sum-environ-eng.php

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