May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, a time of celebration that recognizes the many historical and cultural contributions to the United States by individuals and groups of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander descent. In 2021, the US Census Bureau estimated that there are 24 million people of Asian descent and 1.7 million Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. There is no “one size fits all” solution for issues within the individual communities because there is not just one culture within this larger AANHPI population. NACCHO is dedicated to improving the health of the AANHPI population while considering individual cultural contexts. The commitment also includes work to improve the health of the AANHPI population’s youngest individuals. NACCHO’s new nutrition education resources for infants and toddlers, co-created with the Asian Pacific Islanders Breastfeeding Taskforce (APIBFT) in partnership with Breastfeeding Task Force for the Greater Los Angeles (Breastfeed LA), is an excellent example of working with individual AANHPI communities to develop culturally responsive resources.
Developing the Resources
The nutrition education resources were adapted from the 2020 to 2025 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to fit Chinese and Vietnamese cultural contexts. They were developed as part of NACCHO’s Reducing Disparities in Breastfeeding Through Continuity of Care Project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO).
The APIBFT collected information from the Chinese and Vietnamese communities through feedback forms and found that the MyPlate graphics in the US Dietary Guidelines do not resonate with those communities. One of the findings was that Chinese and Vietnamese families often eat from a bowl rather than a plate and serve meals in a family style. Based on this feedback, NACCHO adapted the 2020 to 2025 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans chapter on infants and toddlers to be better received by families in Chinese and Vietnamese communities through the development of culturally responsive and toddler friendly recipes, handouts, customized social media images, and a community nutrition directory
According to a peer reviewed study by the American Journal of Public Health, a healthy diet during early childhood is vital, especially in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. This period from pregnancy to two years of age is a powerful window of opportunity as it has a long-term impact on the future health and development of children. Optimal nutrition during the first 1,000 days sets the foundation for healthy brain development as the brain grows the fastest compared to other developmental periods. Therefore, all communities must have culturally responsive resources they can access to make sure their children can get the nutrition they need and thrive! We encourage anyone who works with Chinese and Vietnamese families to click HERE to access these nutritional resources.
Furthermore, if you are interested in receiving hard copies of these resources, available in English, Chinese, and Vietnamese, contact us at [email protected].