Association Between Ethnicity and Dietary Behaviors in Chinese Han and Hui Nationalities

Abdelhadi Halawa


This cross-sectional study examined the association between sociodemographic characteristics, ethnocultural identity, dietary habits, and related health behaviors of the Chinese Han and Hui populations. Participants in the study were 662 male and female adults randomly selected from four Chinese cities in three provinces. A modified 23-question self-administered questionnaire was employed to collect data from the respondents pertaining to their ethnic group affirmation, demographic characteristics, dietary habits, food consumption patterns, and related health practices. A t-test was conducted to determine interactions between the parametric variables and Chi-square analyses were conducted to determine interactions between the nonparametric variables. Hans were more likely to have a higher level of education than Huis, Hans were more likely to drink water frequently vs. all other non-water drinks than Huis, both Hans and Huis were more likely to consume their last meal of the day between 17:00-24:00 PM, Huis were more likely to shop for fruits frequently, eat breakfast regularly, cook healthy food (all the time), and bake food more and fry it less frequently, married couples were more likely consume breakfast and shop for fruits more regularly than their single counterparts who were more likely to be have a higher level of education. The level of education does not appear to translate into adopting a healthier dietary behavior such consuming daily breakfast on a regular basis by the more educated single respondents. There is a need to develop both short-term and long-term strategies aimed at further improving the dietary habits and related health practices of both ethnic groups. However, there is a need for the Hans to focus more on improving 6 out of the 8 dietary factors such as consuming regular daily breakfast, and for the Huis to focus more on improving the level of education and 3 out of the 8 dietary factors.


Chinese food culture, Demographic characteristics, Dietary behaviors, dietary-related health practices, Food consumption patterns, Han and Hui Ethnic Nationalities

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