Background: Earlier research regarding immigrants has shown that lifestyle and environmental factors are of importance for the risk of developing certain diseases. Food habits are one of these factors. As there is little research concerning immigrants and food habits, the aim of the present paper was to explore food habits operationalised as meal frequency and vegetable intake among a group of older immigrants in Sweden. Specifically, the following questions were explored: changes in food habits when migrating, missing food from the native country, gender differences in food habits and association between food habits and self-rated health and well-being. Method: A total of 131 persons from the health-promoting study “Promoting Aging Migrants’ Capabilities” (PAMC) conducted in Gothenburg, Sweden, 2011–2014, were included in this exploratory secondary analysis of questionnaire data. Participants were 70 years or older, cognitively intact, and living in ordinary housing. They had all migrated to Sweden from Finland or the Western Balkan Region (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia). Descriptive statistics as well as binary logistic regression were used to answer the research questions. Results: Forty-eight percent of the participants in PAMC reported that they had changed their food habits when migrating, and 17% considered that they missed certain foods from their native country. Most of the participants migrated to Sweden more than 20 years ago. There was a significant difference in self-rated health in favour of the male participants (p = 0.02), but food habits, operationalised as meal frequency and vegetable intake, were not associated with self-rated health or life satisfaction. Conclusion: Men rated their health as better than women did, but food habits operationalised as meal frequency or vegetable intake, were not associated with self-rated health or life satisfaction. Results from this secondary analysis were affected by methodological shortcomings. Further studies to understand the role of food habits in relation to health in a migration context are desired. Trial registration: NCT01841853, Registered April 29, 2013. Retrospectively registered.
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