Supports for and Barriers to Healthy Living for Native Hawaiian Young Adults Enrolled in Community Colleges
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Supports for and Barriers to Healthy Living for Native Hawaiian Young Adults Enrolled in Community Colleges

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Physical inactivity and lower levels of education are associated with increased risk for obesity and chronic disease. Compared with other racial/ethnic groups in Hawai'i, Native Hawaiians have a higher prevalence of chronic disease, including diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. In 2000, 72.5% of Native Hawaiians were overweight, 54.4% met national recommendations for physical activity, and about 10% enrolled in college.


    We conducted four focus groups involving 32 Native Hawaiian young adults enrolled in community (i.e., 2-year) colleges to explore perceived supports for and barriers to living a healthy lifestyle. Questions were based on social marketing concepts and proven physical activity strategies. We adhered to cultural protocol and engaged 10 key informants to help develop the study. Results of the study were presented to these key informants.


    Native Hawaiian young adults perceive themselves as invincible and cited demanding lifestyle and laziness as barriers to increasing their levels of physical activity. Young adults did not define health in terms of individual strength, endurance, and appearance. Rather, they defined it in terms of being purposefully engaged in life's responsibilities, which include working, going to school, and caring for family. Native Hawaiian young adults expressed preferences for group-oriented and college-course–based opportunities to learn more about healthy living and to be encouraged to become more physically active.


    Our research provides insights into the barriers to and supports for increasing physical activity levels among Native Hawaiian young adults and confirms the importance of talking to targeted end-users before designing interventions.

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