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Diet of Moroccan, Turkish, Surinamese and native Dutch in Amsterdam

Voeding van Marokkaanse, Turkse, Surinaamse en autochtone Nederlanders in Amsterdam


RIVM mapped the dietary habits of Moroccan, Turkish, Surinamese and native Dutch in Amsterdam.

Dietary habits differ between the population groups. People of Surinamese, Turkish and Moroccan origin take religious beliefs into account in their overall diet, as, for example, a limited use of alcoholic drinks. Their diets also include traditional foods such as specific Surinamese vegetables like bitawiri and yardlong beans, ayran (Turkish yoghurt drink) and Turkish or Moroccan bread. In addition, the diet of the Surinamese population is more often vegetarian without fish or vegan.

Turkish people tend to eat more fruit than the ethnic Dutch. Surinamese and Moroccans consume relatively less unhealthy (saturated) fatty acids. Due to the different choice of foods the mean intake of dietary fibre, calcium, and vitamin A is low in the non-western population groups and the intake of vitamin B1 is low among women. Furthermore, people of Surinamese origin had low mean intakes of iron and magnesium. A diet including wholegrain products, vegetables, fruit, dairy products, and spreads and cooking fats contribute to a higher intake of these nutrients. Whether the low intakes are inadequate or harmful to health could not be determined in this study.

Overweight and obesity are more prevalent (60-70%) among the nonwestern population groups than among the native Dutch population in Amsterdam (35%). Also, the percentage with enough physical exercise is lower (66-40 percent) than among the native Dutch (75 percent). This study confirms previous results of the Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD Amsterdam).

This is the first large-scale study that provides insight into the diet of Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan and native Dutch population groups. The research was conducted in collaboration with the Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC). A healthy dietary pattern helps to prevent chronic diseases and obesity. The results can be used to develop targeted nutritional materials for the non-western population groups under study.

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