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Dietary differences between elderly Iranians living in Sweden and Iran a cross-sectional comparative study

Afsaneh Koochek1*, Parvin Mirmiran2, Kristina Sundquist3, Firoozeh Hosseini2, Tohid Azizi2, Ali S Moeini2, Sven-Erik Johansson3, Brita Karlström1, Fereidoun Azizi2 and Jan Sundquist34

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

2 Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University/Region Skåne, Sweden

4 Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:411  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-411

Published: 31 May 2011



During the last decades, global migration has increased and many immigrant groups have a higher prevalence than the native born population of several cardiovascular disease risk factors, including poor dietary habits. However, it is uncertain if dietary habits in immigrant populations reflect dietary habits in their country of origin or if the current diet is a consequence of the migration and possible change of dietary habits. The aim of this study was to examine possible dietary differences between elderly Iranians living in Stockholm, Sweden with elderly Iranians living in Tehran, Iran, taking into account sex, age, marital status, and education.


Dietary intakes were assessed by semi - quantitative food frequency questionnaire in a cross-sectional study of 121 Iranians living in Stockholm and 52 Iranians living in Tehran, aged 60-80. Differences in dietary habits between the two groups was analysed by bootstrapped regression analyses with 1000 replications.


Iranians living in Sweden had significantly higher intake of protein, total fat, fiber than Iranians living in Iran, but lower consumption of carbohydrates. The observed differences in intake of macronutrients were reflected in consumed amount of all food items, which were higher among Iranians living in Iran with the exception of bread and grain consumption which was lower.


There are general differences in dietary habits between Iranians living in Iran and Iranians living in Sweden. Parts of observed differences in dietary habits may reflect a favourable adoption process to the Swedish dietary habits after migration. Meanwhile other differences are point of concern in light of the high prevalence of overweight, among Iranians living in Sweden and can have unfavourable impact in particular in the context of cardiovascular health.