Sunday 11th December 2016,

Asian Americans

CDC Report Shows Wide Disparities in Asian Americans’ Health

posted by Randall
Asian American familyBy Ed Diokno

 

Asian American adults are the healthiest, both physically and psychologically, in the United States, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report also refutes the notion that all Asian Americans can be viewed as  one mononlithic group when treating their health ailments.

Of the group, which included Chinese, Filipinos, Asian Indians, Japanese, Vietnamese and Koreans, Chinese “reported better health on all five measures in this report compared with all U.S. adults.”

The danger of the report is to read the opening paragraphs and assume that the so-called “model minority” is healthier than the average American. Digging into the report we can see the wide disparities between the different ethnic groups representing over 30 nationalities and dozens of language. The data is from the National Health Interview Survey, 2010-2014.
 
Among the key findings:

  • Non-Hispanic Asian adults were less likely than all U.S. adults to be in fair or poor health, have multiple chronic conditions, have serious psychological distress in the past 30 days, or be limited in work or social participation.
  • Chinese adults reported better health on all five measures in this report compared with all U.S. adults.
  • Chinese adults (11.3 percent) were less likely than Filipino (22.3 percent), Asian Indian (16.9 percent), Japanese (16.8 percent), or Vietnamese (15.6 percent) adults to have multiple chronic conditions.
  • Vietnamese may have the worse health outcomes of all Americans.

    poor health, by non-Hispanic Asian subgroup: United States, 2010–2014

    Figure 1. Age-adjusted percentage of adults aged 18 and over in fair or
    poor health, by non-Hispanic Asian subgroup: United States, 2010–2014

 

  • Chinese (1.8 percent) and Asian Indian (1.5 percent) adults were about one-half as likely as Japanese adults (4.1 percent) to have a work limitation.
  • Chinese (2.4 percent), Japanese (2.2 percent), and Vietnamese (2.4 percent) adults were about one-half as likely as Korean adults (4.6 percent) to be limited in social participation.
  • Filipinos reported the most chronic conditions, while Japanese experienced the most work limitations.
    Figure 2. Age-adjusted percentage of adults aged 18 and over with multiple chronic conditions, by non-Hispanic Asian subgroup: United States, 2010–2014

    Figure 2. Age-adjusted percentage of adults aged 18 and over with multiple
    chronic conditions, by non-Hispanic Asian subgroup: United States, 2010–2014

  • Korean and Asian Indian adults were more likely to report limitations in social behavior, but neither group was more likely to have multiple chronic conditions or serious psychological distress.
  • As pointed out by the Huffington Post, one of the flaws of the study is that it was skewed towards English speakers, which would leave out older non-English-speakers who probably be in poorer health.

 

 

Since the majority of the Asian Americans community is made up of first-generation immigrants, the report didn’t distinguish between new immigrants and Asian Americans who have been in the U.S. for generations and who most likely have taken in the eating habits of the rest of America, i.e. fast food, fats and sugars.

 

Nevertheless, the report was one of the few that separated the stats of the different Asian subgroups and points out the importance of disaggregation of data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

 

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