A Nation of Immigrant Junk Food Junkies

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, many Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children eventually adopt American-style junk food eating habits. The study surveyed 16,000 people—Mexicans living in Mexico, Mexican immigrants to the United States, their U.S.-born children, and non-Hispanic whites. The survey found that as Mexican immigrants stayed in the United States longer they start to eat junk food just like Americans.

In a way this is not too surprising. Mexican immigrants, unless they live in areas where there are many other Mexican immigrants (and with it family-owned stores selling Mexican food products), must supplement their diet with whatever is available. And this includes foods that may be less than nutritious. One of the traits of American life is working hard and doing things on the go. This means eating on the go and eating whatever is available.

And eight times out of ten we are all eating junk food. It says a lot more about the American lifestyle than anything Mexican or any other immigrant group is doing. But there is a remedy for this. A growing number of Americans are beginning to adopt more healthy foods—even on the go. Naturally Mexican and other immigrants are trying to do the same. So Mexican immigrants will be able to eat what they have long since eaten from their country of origin and also adopt those American foods that are “not junk foods.”

But none of this come easily. Afterall, America is known as a nation that eats on the go and we are still known as a nation of junk food junkies. While more nutritious foods are becoming available, they cost more and are not always affordable. On the other hand fruits and vegetables are largely affordable so this can make a difference. As America changes from a nation of junk food junkies, so immigrants from elsewhere will do the same.

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