Sunday, July 13, 2014

Health Promotion Campaign

This health promotion campaign is designed to help Native Hawaiian Families with children and adolescents learn how to reduce their weight and be proactive against the illnesses that have become prevalent in this population. Neel (1962) hypothesized that some cultures, especially those that thrive in geographical isolation, develop a genotype that functions with a more energy efficient metabolism. Because Hawaii was geographically isolated for several hundred years, the Native Hawaiians may have developed this genotype. This, combined with the modernization (or Americanization) of their diets, creates a tendency toward overweight and obesity. Grandinetti and colleagues (1999) found when Native Hawaiians had a higher the percentage of Hawaiian ancestry, they had an increased tendency for overweight and obesity that could not be explained by behavioral factors, such as their food intake or their energy use (Gardinetti et al., 1999). However, when Native Hawaiians were placed on a traditional (pre-Western contact) diet, they became healthier and lost significant amounts of weight (Shintani, Hughes, Beckam & O'Connor, 1991).

                                                            Recent Trends

During the last several decades, Native Hawaiians have experienced an increase in overweight and obesity-related diseases, such as kidney disease, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and cancers (Mau, Grandinetti, Arakaki, & Chang, 1997) (Aluli, 1991; Mau et al., 1997). In addition, their risk of death from chronic conditions is twice that of White Americans, and Native Hawaiians are diagnosed with chronic heart disease more than three times the rate of diagnosis of White Americans (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). These statistics alone warrant a culturally sensitive health promotion program for diet and exercise.

Exacerbating the deleterious cultural health risks, negative self-perceptions in Native Hawaiian children are a result of cultural loss, which has traumatized the entirety of the race (Liu & Alameda, 2011). In addition, Native Hawaiians have the lowest incomes of all ethnicities living in the Hawaiian Islands (Mokuau & Matsuoka, 1005), and this, along with discrimination in the schools, and the poverty-ridden neighborhoods in which they typically live, contribute to the way Native Hawaiian children perceive themselves. Being overweight creates psychosocial challenges that contribute to self-perception.

                                            Cultural Weight Loss Program
The culturally sensitive weight loss program for Native Hawaiians will provide information and resources to assist them in learning about the benefits of their traditional diet. Based on the premise that knowledge has the potential to instigate change, it will create an awareness of food consumption habits of Native Hawaiians as well as provide a foundational understanding of why the typical American diet has been a downfall in their health.


Brown, D. E., Gotshalk, L. A., Katzmarzyk, P. T., & Allen, L. (2011). Measures of adiposity in two cohorts of Hawaiian school children. Annals Of Human Biology, 38(4), 492-499. doi:10.3109/03014460.2011.560894

Neel, J. (1999). Diabetes mellitus: a "thrifty" genotype rendered detrimental by "progress"? 1962. Bulletin Of The World Health Organization, 77(8), 694-703. 362

Grandinetti, A., Chang, H., Chen, R., Fujimoto, W., Rodriguez, B., & Curb, J. (1999). Prevalence of overweight and central adiposity is associated with percentage of indigenous ancestry among native Hawaiians. International Journal Of Obesity And Related Metabolic Disorders: Journal Of The International Association For The Study Of Obesity, 23(7), 733-737.

Liu, D., & Alameda, C. (2011). Social determinants of health for Native Hawaiian children and adolescents. Hawaii Medical Journal, 70(11 Suppl 2), 9-14.

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