Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pacific Islanders have high obesity, smoking rates, study finds

Date:
September 24, 2012
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
In the first study to detail the health of Pacific Islanders living in the United States, researchers have found alarmingly high rates of obesity and smoking.

In the first study to detail the health of Pacific Islanders living in the United States, University of Michigan researchers have found alarmingly high rates of obesity and smoking.

The preliminary findings were presented Sept. 24 at a conference in Los Angeles on health disparities among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

"Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are the second fastest growing minority population in the U.S.," said Sela Panapasa, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research and principal investigator of the Pacific Islander Health Study. "But they are often underrepresented in national surveys.

"This is the first scientific study to assess the health, well-being and health care use of two subgroups of this important population -- Samoans and Tongans. Our hope is that this will lead to the development of evidence-based interventions and policies to improve the health of these groups, and also serve as a model for similar studies of other subgroups of this population."

For the study, the research team interviewed a random sample of 239 California households in 2011 and 2012. Half were Tongans living in the San Mateo area and half were Samoans living in the Los Angeles area. Trained Samoan and Tongan interviewers collected information on a wide range of health conditions and health behaviors among adults and adolescents in the households.

Among the key preliminary findings:

  • Smoking rates among Pacific Islanders were three to four times higher than for other Californians, and more than twice as high as in the U.S. overall. About 46 percent of Pacific Islander adults said they were current smokers, compared to 13 percent of all California adults and 20 percent of U.S. adults. Among Pacific Islander adolescents, 23 percent said they had tried smoking cigarettes, compared to just 3.5 percent of California teens.
  • More than half of Pacific Islander adolescents were overweight or obese based on their body mass index. More than 80 percent of Pacific Islander adults had a BMI that indicated they were overweight or obese.
  • Pacific Islander adults were much less likely than other adults to see a dentist (47 percent, compared to 86 percent of all Californians), and Pacific Islander women were less likely to have ever gotten a mammogram (53 percent, compared to 73 percent of Californians).
  • Pacific Islander adults age 50 and older were much less likely to have ever had a colonoscopy (31 percent, compared to 78 percent of Californians). Only 24 percent of Pacific Islander women ever had a colonoscopy, compared to 79 percent of California women.
  • Pacific Islander teens were much more likely than other adolescents to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. For example, nearly 47 percent of Tongan teens surveyed admitted to trying alcohol, compared to 36 percent of California teens overall. And 25 percent of Pacific Islander teens had tried any drug, compared to just 14 percent of California teens overall.

"By identifying the problem areas facing specific Pacific Islander communities, we can finally begin to chart a course to develop interventions that will help to reduce these health disparities and build healthy communities," Panapasa said.

Among Panapasa's collaborators on the study are U-M researchers James Jackson, Cleopatra Caldwell, Steven Heeringa, and James McNally, and Harvard University researcher David Williams.

Funding for the Pacific Islander Health Study was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Pacific Islanders have high obesity, smoking rates, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924102502.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2012, September 24). Pacific Islanders have high obesity, smoking rates, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924102502.htm
University of Michigan. "Pacific Islanders have high obesity, smoking rates, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924102502.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins