Creating Resources for a Healthy Eating and Active Living Movement for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

Recent years have seen widespread attention in the mainstream press and efforts in the public health sector to address the obesity epidemic and its critical relationships to food and physical activity. Despite this, the effects of obesity in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities are rarely, if ever, included in the larger narrative. The common myth that obesity is not a problem impacting the health and well-being of the AA and NHPI community creates barriers, making it more difficult for our communities to effectively address the issue, such as limited data collection and knowledge of the breadth of the disease burdens related to food and physical activity among AAs and NHPIs.

Recent years have seen widespread attention in the mainstream press and efforts in the public health sector to address the obesity epidemic and its critical relationships to food and physical activity. Despite this, the effects of obesity in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities are rarely, if ever, included in the larger narrative. The common myth that obesity is not a problem impacting the health and well-being of the AA and NHPI community creates barriers, making it more difficult for our communities to effectively address the issue, such as limited data collection and knowledge of the breadth of the disease burdens related to food and physical activity among AAs and NHPIs.

To fill this glaring gap, APPEAL has been building our expertise on obesity and identifying unique strategies that work in our communities. In 2009, we initiated a national network of AA and NHPI leaders engaged in healthy eating and active living (HEAL) around the country, in order to advance the broader movement of food and built environment reform, and to help inform our own approach to HEAL. Today, we support other organizations and community-led efforts to address HEAL in AA and NHPI communities through technical assistance and capacity building activities.

A recent highlight of our work is the creation of a “HEAL 101″ presentation, which includes some data on obesity in AA and NHPI communities, the historical, cultural and social determinants that have influenced health as it relates to the food and built environments of our communities, and the core policy solutions that some are exploring to address these issues. The presentation was developed in consultation with our HEAL network, and has already been featured in webinars and in-person presentations. The presentation can be found on our website and is titled “Creating a Healthy Eating Active Living Movement for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders.”

Please browse the APPEAL website to access these and other technical assistance resources on healthy eating and active living, as well as tobacco control. We also encourage you to join our listserv and “like” us on Facebook to receive news and information about trainings and funding opportunities.

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