General Health Status

According to the BRFSS, (Salvail FR et al, 2003), 32% of Native Hawaiian elders self-reported being in “excellent” or “very good” health, compared to 49% of Caucasian elders. Nearly 50% of Native Hawaiian elders felt that they were in “good” health compared to 31% of Caucasian elders, with similar percentages of Native Hawaiians and Caucasians reporting either “fair” or “poor” health.

With regard to receiving preventive health care, Native Hawaiian elders were similar to their Caucasian counterparts in terms of receiving annual flu shots (70.0% versus 68.5%) and in having health care coverage (both 99.3%) (Salvail FR et al., 2003). In other areas of preventive care, studies have found that Asian and Pacific Islanders have lower rates of pneumonia vaccination, under use of mental health and preventive health services (i.e. cancer screening) and poorer early detection rates compared to other ethnic groups (Coughlin & Uhler, 2000; Kagawa-Singer & Pourat, 2000). A study on health-seeking behaviors of Native Hawaiian men found that the primary reasons for postponing a visit to the doctor included “not wanting to know”, embarrassment, shame, fear, and not having enough time (Hughes, 2004).


Summary

  • Less than one-third of Native Hawaiian elders reported excellent health status and this was lower than among their Caucasian counterparts.
  • However, a greater number of Native Hawaiian elders reported “good health” compared to Caucasian elders.
  • Native Hawaiian elders have comparable rates of annual flu vaccination but lag behind in other preventive health practices.