Study: Cultural food, family values may be key to heart health in Filipino Americans

Study: Cultural food, family values may be key to heart health in Filipino Americans

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Turns out for a healthy heart, all Filipino-Americans need is good food and family – that's according to a recent study released by researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The study, entitled "Strategies to Increase Filipino American Participation in Cardiovascular Health Promotion," found that incorporating values such as family relationships and traditional foods are an effective way to increase heart health in Filipino individuals.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among Filipino-American males and is the second leading cause for Filipino-American females, according to the study.

Filipino-Americans are also prone to hypertension and other common side-effects of chronic heart conditions such as obesity, physical inactivity and high alcohol consumption.

The study found that in past research on Filipino health, utilizing intervention that included the entire family, instead of just one person with a cardiovascular disease, was a much more effective method among Filipino groups. Researchers say this is due to the fact that the family unit is a powerful force in Filipino culture.

"In some interventions, healthcare workers offered suggestions for small changes that could be made in serving traditional Filipino foods, such as grilling fish rather than frying it," said Professor Kathryn L. Braun, director of the UH Office of Public Health, in a statement.

Researchers also believe that utilizing dancing as a form of physical activity could also be useful in getting Filipino-Americans up and moving, rather than traditional forms of exercise — like jumping rope at the gym.

"Our research is part of a growing body of evidence that shows that public health efforts that are tailored to reach people of certain cultures are effective in lowering the rates of chronic diseases," said Jermy Leigh-Domingo, a recent graduate of UH Manoa's school of public health, in a statement.

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