Patterns of Health Risk

There is little specific data regarding the health status of Chinese-Americans. Prior to 1985, studies suggested a lower risk for death and disease in Asians and Pacific Islanders as a whole (Huff & Kline, 1999). However, newer studies see a trend towards poorer health status for this group in general, especially among those that live in poverty.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (2006), for the Asian Pacific Islander population, cancer was the top killer, followed by heart disease and stroke. This differs from the White population in that heart disease is the leading cause of death. The myth of the “Model Minority” (that all Asians are affluent and healthy) is misleading. Significant segments of the Asian population are living in poverty, lack insurance, and do not access health care.

According to 2007 health statistics, 15% of Asian persons under 65 years do not have health insurance coverage, and 6.5% of persons all ages report they are in fair or poor health.

Also, Chinese-American households tend to be larger due to the common practice of multiple generations and extended family living together.