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.
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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.