Table of Contents
ISRN Obesity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 903868, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/903868
Research Article

Health Beliefs regarding Dietary Behavior and Physical Activity of Surinamese Immigrants of Indian Descent in The Netherlands: A Qualitative Study

1Academic Collaborative Centre for Public Health Limburg, Regional Public Health Service, Geleen, The Netherlands
2CAPHRI School of Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
3Department of Health Promotion, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
4NUTRIM School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
5Department of Health Services Research, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

Received 24 October 2012; Accepted 12 November 2012

Academic Editors: M. Hannon-Fletcher, K.-C. Huang, and R. Silvestre

Copyright © 2012 A.-M. Hendriks et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study explored the health beliefs about eating habits and physical activity (PA) of Surinamese immigrants of Indian (Hindustani) descent to examine how health education messages to prevent obesity can be made more culturally sensitive. Indians are known for their increasing obesity incidence and are highly vulnerable for obesity-related consequences such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Therefore they might benefit from culturally sensitive health education messages that stimulate healthy eating habits and increase PA levels. In order to examine how health education messages aimed at preventing obesity could be adapted to Indian culture, we interviewed eight Hindustanis living in The Netherland, and conducted two focus groups ( ) with members from a Surinamese Hindustani community. Results showed cultural implications that might affect the effectiveness of health education messages: karma has a role in explaining the onset of illness, traditional eating habits are perceived as difficult to change, and PA was generally disliked. We conclude that health education messages aimed at Hindustani immigrants should recognize the role of karma in explaining the onset of illness, include more healthy alternatives for traditional foods, pay attention to the symbolic meaning of food, and suggest more enjoyable and culturally sensitive forms of PA for women.