Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Science and Human Ecology

First Reader/Committee Chair

Becerra, Monideepa


Objective: Food insecurity among South Asians in the US is a public health issue. Food insecure adults face a plethora of adverse outcomes and research shows that individuals with ancestral origins from South Asia have a higher susceptibility rate for cardiovascular disease after migrating to urban environments. As such, the goal of this study was to research possible barriers South Asians face when creating cultural dishes in the US.

Methods: This was a convergent parallel mixed-methods analysis to understand how South Asians feel about food insecurity. Pricing and availability of cultural food items were obtained from South Asian and Western grocery stores. Focus groups were conducted among twelve participants who identified as South Asian immigrants where participants discussed their experiences obtaining cultural food items. After the interviews, the discussions were transcribed, and patterns were identified and analyzed.

Results: The results of the study demonstrate that South Asians find barriers such as availability, price, and quality when shopping for cultural food items. Participants reported cooking cultural foods at a lower frequency than what they would prefer because while many of the food items commonly used in cultural dishes were available at both Western and South Asian grocery stores, South Asian stores were more expensive. Furthermore, participants reported that some culturally specific ingredients were not available at South Asian stores thus further limiting their ability to cook healthy items.

Conclusion: The results of the study highlight the need for more public health initiative to address food insecurity among South Asians in the US.