Determinants of western food adoption among hindu nepalese women living in the Kathmandu valley

Chery Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to characterize western food adopters among Nepalese women and to investigate whether caste and class play an important role as a barrier to food adoption, thus limiting access to the globalizing market. It was hypothesized that women who consumed and prepared above average amounts of western foods would be taller and heavier. Methods: A convenience sample of 508 Nepalese women of mixed castes, 18-60 years, was purposefully recruited. A Food Adoption Instrument was developed, tested, and used to assess the consumption of western foods. Women were grouped as western food adopters (≥12.5)-those consuming equal or more western food than Nepalese foods and western food non-adopters (≤12.5). Using student t-tests, sample characteristics and body mass index (BMI) were compared between western food adopters and non-western food adopters. Results: Nearly a quarter of the women identified as western food adopters (n = 118) and 76% identified as western food non-adopters (n = 399). Using student t-test analysis, stepwise regression, and Pearson correlation analyses, it was found that western food adopters were significantly younger (P < 0.000), better educated (P < 0.000), had fewer children (P < 0.003), had higher incomes (P < 0.000), and watched more TV (P < 0.000) than western food non-adopters. They were taller and had lower BMIs than their western food non-adopter counterparts. Caste was also associated with western food adoption. Conclusions: Lack of education and low paying jobs appear to prevent access to the globalizing food system, suggesting that the centuries old sociopolitical and caste infrastructure indirectly prevents western food adoption for those failing to achieve financial security. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 25:205-214, 2013.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

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