- This study reports the food habits of Vietnamese college women in association
with college life and their cultural background. Their food habits, food associated
beliefs, and the influences on their food choices were examined.
Interviews, using semi-structured questionnaire, were conducted with 25
Vietnamese college women at Oregon State University. The questionnaire included
general and particular food consumption, cooking/eating out practices, and food
The busy schedules of the Vietnamese college students in college life greatly
influenced their food choices. They preferred eating the same foods as before college,
which were mainly Vietnamese foods. However, they also considered convenience for
their food choices since they did not have enough time and/or skills to prepare and eat
meals. Generally they kept eating Vietnamese foods, such as rice and Vietnamese
flavored dishes; however, they increased eating easy to prepare food, such as pasta,
sandwiches, and fast foods in college life, which were not often eaten with their families
before college. All of them had rice cookers, chopsticks, and fish sauce, that are
substantial for a Vietnamese diet.
Their preference of eating Vietnamese foods led to their unique meal patterns.
They tended to adjust mealtime in order to eat Vietnamese foods at home and avoided
eating meals on campus. Instead, the high frequency of snack consumption was reported.
They had strong beliefs that Vietnamese foods were healthy. The Vietnamese
foods, which consisted of rice, a wide variety of vegetables, and small amount of meat,
tend to be low in fat. It led to avoidance of commercialized low-fat and low-calorie
foods. The Vietnamese diet was also believed to be a balanced diet. This was associated
with the small credibility of a vegetarian diet in spite of the fact that they considered
vegetables played an important role in their diets. Generally they were comfortable to
keep eating Vietnamese foods because of their health concerns, as well as their taste
In college life, they consumed some foods that were not Vietnamese and not often
eaten with their families before. However, it could be temporary mainly because of their
busy schedules. They preferred to eat the same foods as before, if their schedule allowed,
and they considered that Vietnamese foods should be eaten as their real meals.