Researchers unveil landmark Native Hawaiian health study

Researchers unveil landmark Native Hawaiian health study
Published: Sep. 24, 2013 at 7:41 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 25, 2013 at 12:42 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Researchers from the John A. Burns School of Medicine presented a landmark, 20-year health study on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to an audience of four legislative committees at the state capitol Tuesday.

"What makes this landmark is that we've drilled down into what are the underlying causes that makes us at high risk, and then taking that and creating programs and interventions to reverse that" said Dr. Marjorie Mau.

The study highlighted a vast array of data, including the improvements in health conditions in those populations, as well as the challenges that are present, and those that remain in the future.

"In order to address the health of our people and really help people live the lives they want to live and live longer, we need to focus on those things that are upstream factors: education, economy, economics, the conditions in which our people live" added Dr. Keawa'aimoku Kaholokula.

Diabetes, heart disease and obesity are health conditions plaguing the population.  The report did not just focus on those, however.  It went on to chronicle 'upstream' factors that contribute to these maladies, such as economic, educational, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual well being.

"We want to highlight the successes we've made in Native Hawaiian health, because there's a lot of things to be very proud of, and a lot of things that have moved forward and helped our health circumstances" said Kaholokula.

Such advances include longer life expectancies and population increases within the communities.

Ultimately, the researchers want to make sure this information does not become static, but instead, will lead to better health.

"It'll just stop at information here if we don't do something.  One of the things that I've recommended and asked for us to consider us forming a state task force to begin to develop a Native Hawaiian health improvement plan" noted Kaholokula.

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