"Nutrition among Ethnic Groups" is a perfect example of a paper on food and nutrition. The paper focuses on the food intake habits of ethnic minorities of the US with a special focus on the non-Hispanics, the blacks, the Mexican Americans, and other minorities. The determinants of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) are discussed and the need to improve the diet scheme of the ethnic groups has been focused upon. Manifestation of health care services to their citizens is the common goal of all nations especially the developed countries like the United States of America.
However, there is also the influence of some external factors in perceiving nutrition by individuals. Hundreds of residents of the United States belonging to different ethnical groups observe the differences in their nutritional intakes. Major health disparities are common among different ethnic statuses of the country. The diet patterns of certain population groups of the country do not adhere to the dietary guidelines and hence facing the risk of diseases that are diet-related. (National Cancer Institute, 2006) Eating habits of ethnic minorities Risk of nutritional deficiencies Assessment of the racial groups and their nutritional intakes reveals that risks of experiencing nutritional deficiencies are highly common in them.
Complex cultural and economic factors act as the host in the mediation of dietary risk among the different ethnic groups. Improvements in the quality of the diet are issues that require careful consideration in order to align with the nutritional recommendations of the governing bodies. A study of the patterns of food intake among the non-Hispanic white and black population of the country along with that of the Mexican Americans, American Indians, and the islanders of the Asia Pacific region has been made (National Cancer Institute, 2006; WHFoods, 2011). Healthy Eating Index The healthy Eating Index (HEI) of USDA has been used in converting the elements of their diet pattern in a single scale of measurement helping in comparing the groups.
Ten constituents focusing on specific food groups along with dietary intakes and dietary variety compose the HEI. According to this index, all five ethnic groups are in the need of improving their diet patterns. The Black populations of the society have less percentage of grain and milk groups in their diet with more meat consumption than the whites and the Mexican Americans (National Cancer Institute, 2006). Deficiencies and health impact Deficiency of fiber, calcium, and folate along with high cholesterol intakes results from the diet pattern of the minorities.
Higher intakes of fruit and vegetables are common among Mexican Americans in comparison to the other groups. Intakes of whole grains are less in all three groups. The Asian Americans and the Pacific islanders have the required amount of saturated fat and variety in their diets. The recommendations regarding the intake of fruits or milk are not met by any of the groups.
The deficiency of Omega3 fats along with copper and fiber is common among every racial group of the country. Calcium, Zinc, and Vitamin A deficiency are common among African and Asian American as well as American Indian women. Obesity is fuelling the occurrence of diabetes within the community of ‘ Prima Indians’ . (National Cancer Institute, 2006; WHFoods, 2011) Proper food intake is necessary to nurture the human body for withstanding diseases in order to live a healthier life.
The nutritional decisions of individuals are influenced by their racial or ethnic backgrounds. The overall score of the HEI increases with the increase in educational level among groups and their incomes (Thomas, 2002). Thus focus on these two aspects can result in bringing change in the diet pattern of the racial groups of the country and hence reduce the risk of dietary diseases.
National cancer Institute, (2006), Preventive Nutrition Issues in Ethnic &
Socioeconomic Groups in the United States, Risk Factor Monitoring and
Methods, retrieved on 8th June, 2011, from
Thomas, J. (2002). Nutrition intervention in ethnic minority groups, Proc Nutr Soc.
WHFoods (2011), Ethnic Traditions, retrieved on 8th June, 2011,