Sunday, July 13, 2014

Public Health Prevention Programs

Because obesity has become a significant health issue in many developed countries, public health prevention programs have begun to play a central role in preventing overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. The purpose of this assignment is to create a 30 second public service announcement for the local community to promote good nutrition for families. In addition, it will explain recent trends of poor diet and exercise in Hawaii, and explain how this program can reduce these trends.

                                                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 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 energy use. However, when Native Hawaiians were placed on a traditional (pre-Western contact) diets, 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, and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and various types of cancer (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 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 negative 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 negative self-perceptions (Liu, & Alameda, 2011).

                                                 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 (including the economic benefit) 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.

It will encourage parents to incorporate more ono (delicious) traditional Hawaiian foods and reduce the number of fast foods and snacks that have become a major component in the typical American diet. In addition, it will promote exercise, and encourage parents to involve their keiki (children) in sports and taking short walks in the evening. In sum, the program will help to create an awareness in the Hawaiian people, providing information on why the trends of overweight and obesity persist, even though they are not eating differently than their White counterparts.


Public health programs aimed at childhood obesity prevention should be age appropriate, and geared toward family involvement (Epstein, Valoski, Rena, & McCurley, 1994). In addition, programs must be culturally appropriate and consider local resources. Native Hawaiians need culturally sensitive information that will help them navigate the specific health issues unique to their population. This health program aims to provide a proactive approach specifically tailored for this indigenous population.


Aluli, N. E. (1991). Prevalence of obesity in a Native Hawaiian population. The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc. Retrieved from

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

Epstein, L. H.,Valoski, A., Wing, R. R., & McCurley, J. (1994). Ten-year outcomes of behavioral family-based treatment for childhood obesity. Health Psychology, 13(5), 373– 383.

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.

Mau, M. K., West, M. R., Shara, N. M., Efird, J. T., Alimineti, K., Saito, E., & ... Ng, R. (2007). Epidemiologic and clinical factors associated with Chronic Kidney Disease among Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians. Ethnicity & Health, 12(2), 111-127. doi:10.1080/13557850601081720

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

Shintani, T., Hughes, C., Beckham, S., & O'Connor, H. (1991). Obesity and cardiovascular risk intervention through the ad libitum feeding of traditional Hawaiian diet. The American

Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 53(6 Suppl), 1647S-1651S.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Heart disease and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders. The Office of Minority Health. Retrieved April 15, 2013, from

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