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Health Promotion in Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Analyzing the health needs of specific minority groups is vital as it allows health care providers to address particular problems and target populations whose socioeconomic, political, and cultural characteristics may serve as barriers to health care.

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For example, currently, one of the fastest-growing minority groups in the U.S. is the Asian population (“Racial and ethnic minority populations,” 2018). While some of these people identify as Asian Americans, others may also include Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians. The former group consists of more than 18 million individuals, while the population of Islanders amounts to less than 1.5 million people (“Racial and ethnic minority populations,” 2018). Similar to other minority populations, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have their health concerns and issues.

Current Health Status

One can compare the statistics of the national rates and the minority population rates to evaluate the group’s health status. For instance, the national average for binge alcohol use among adolescents and young adults in the U.S. is 13.8%, while Asian Americans’ rate is significantly lower, amounting to 6.7% (“Racial and ethnic minority populations,” 2018, para. 28). It shows that the minority youth does not engage in alcohol consumption in the same way that other individuals do. Furthermore, the rate of drug use for Asian Americans is also low, standing at 4.1%, although Pacific Islanders’ rates are higher than that – 15.6% (“Racial and ethnic minority populations,” 2018, para. 26). Overall, however, the rates of substance use are not high.

Some common chronic conditions in the country, including cancer, diabetes, and health disease, are more widespread among minority populations such as Asian Americans. The rate of diabetes, for example, is 18% higher among the Asian American group than the non-Hispanic white population (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016, para. 7). Other problems may include untreated mental health issues and an overall lack of attention to one’s psychological well-being (Wyatt, Ung, Park, Kwon, & Trinh-Shevrin, 2015).

Thus, in 2013, the rate of suicide attempts among the minority group’s youth was higher than the nation’s average by 1 to 3% (Wyatt et al., 2015). This health concern may be explained by various sources of stress for young people, including pressure from family and peers and the need for academic achievement.

Health Disparities

The problems mentioned before may reveal several health disparities. The first possible disparity is linked to mental health as multiple groups of the Asian American and Pacific Islander populations have high rates of associated issues. According to Augsberger, Yeung, Dougher, & Hahm (2015), Asian American women of all age groups underutilize mental health services and do not report any correlated problems, delaying the possibility of treating such conditions as depression and suicide ideations.

Some reasons behind many examples of inaction may include the presence of a language barrier, the lack of accessible services, and the absence of a supporting framework that encourages one to address mental health concerns. Moreover, multiple cultural characteristics such as the necessity to conform to the social norms and the general attention to the group’s needs as opposed to personal concerns may also serve as reasons for disparity’s creation (Augsberger et al., 2015). In older women, a generational factor may play a role as well.

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Health Promotion Intervention

As one of the main problems detected in analyzing Asian Americans is connected to mental health, an intervention should also be focused on this sphere. For this reason, the group’s social and family norms and the level of awareness may be addressed. First of all, education should be the primary concern of any intervention as the lack of knowledge about mental health problems and their treatment is among the main reasons for the discussed health disparity. Thus, both Asian American youth and older individuals should be educated on the subject of mental health with a focus on professional help and the creation of a peer network.

Second, a system of support should be established to encourage Asian Americans to address their mental health concerns. Some types of interventions may include a faith-based approach if a community is religious and a school-based one as many young individuals spend much time at school (Augsberger et al., 2015; Wyatt et al., 2015). Furthermore, it is vital to discuss the presence of language barriers and help families understand the true nature of mental health disorders to show the crucial role of timely treatment. Thus, all levels of intervention may be approached with education and a strong support network.


The health status of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders may be closer to the nation’s average than that of some other minority groups. However, this part of the country’s population still has many problems that create barriers to health care. One of the main issues is a mental health disparity that is based on the Asian Americans’ cultural differences and the lack of awareness about mental well-being. To address high rates of depression and suicide among Asian Americans and Islanders, one can introduce an intervention based on education and the creation a strong support network. This type of intervention may reduce the impact of the group’s misunderstanding connected to mental health.


Augsberger, A., Yeung, A., Dougher, M., & Hahm, H. C. (2015). Factors influencing the underutilization of mental health services among Asian American women with a history of depression and suicide. BMC Health Services Research, 15. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). Web.

Racial and ethnic minority populations. (2018). Web.

Wyatt, L. C., Ung, T., Park, R., Kwon, S. C., & Trinh-Shevrin, C. (2015). Risk factors of suicide and depression among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander youth: A systematic literature review. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 26(2 Suppl), 191-237. Web.

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