Irish descent, religion and food consuption in the west of Scotland


Mullen K, Williams R & Hunt K (2000) Irish descent, religion and food consuption in the west of Scotland. Appetite, 34 (1), pp. 47-54.

Mortality and morbidity of people of Irish descent in Britain is high, including from cardiovascular causes potentially linked with diet. The west of Scotland has long had a pattern of Irish migration, where migrants were poorer than the host population, and their different religious background gave rise to prolonged discrimination. This paper uses data collected in 1987/88 from the west of Scotland Twenty-07 study to test whether dietary differences due to poverty or to other factors have persisted among the descendents of these migrants. Being born of Catholic parents was the index of Irish descent used, these respondents consumed less of a factor represented by fruit, yoghurt and vegetables, and more of one represented by snacks and processed foods than the rest of the sample. The picture for those reporting current Catholic affiliation in adulthood was similar. Differences are largely associated with social class and mediated not by low income but by educational disadvantage. The findings suggest the continuation of a diet affected by limited opportunities for social mobility, and thus by obstacles to sustained educational advancement, among the descendants of Irish migrants even after several generations. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Appetite: Volume 34, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2000