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Ethn Dis. 2004 Winter;14(1):111-8.

The relationship between ethnicity and obesity in Asian and Pacific Islander populations: a literature review.

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  • 1John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.


The purpose of this literature review is to explore the potential relationship between ethnicity and obesity, and obesity-related risks, with a particular emphasis on disparities between Asian and Pacific Islander populations. We conducted a comprehensive search of available medical literature related to the rise of obesity in the United States, factors contributing to obesity, evidence-based clinical guidelines, and obesity and related risks as they occur in Hawaii. In conducting this search, we sought to illuminate obesity rates in Asians and Pacific Islanders in connection with various factors, such as diet and lifestyle, acculturation, and body image, as they occur in diverse cultural contexts. We found that the rates of obesity and related risks were highest in Native Hawaiians and Samoans. Based upon our review of the literature, we conclude that further research is necessary to address the relationship between ethnicity and obesity risk factors in Asian and Pacific Islander populations.

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