September 1, 2008

Environmental Factors of Obesity in Communities with Native Hawaiians

Marjorie K. Mau, Kara N. Wong, Jimmy Efird, Margaret West, Erin P.
Saito, and Jay Maddock

Hawaii Medical Journal

Objective—To compare the fast food outlets and exercise resources across 3 communities with varying percentages of Native Hawaiians (NH) and to correlate these findings with obesity prevalence.

Methods—Data on all food and exercise resources were collected from January through July 2006 within a 1-mile radius in 3 distinct communities (site A=higher %NH to site C=lower %NH). Comparisons between communities were analyzed in 2007 using Fisher’s Exact and ANOVA.

Results—Trends in obesity prevalence paralleled the percentage of NHs. After adjusting for population size, site B had a greater number of fast food outlets (p<0.001) than site A or C, and more exercise facilities compared to site A (p=0.05). Availability of fast food outlets was significantly greater at site A compared to site C (p=0.03). Usage of exercise facilities was not significantly different between sites although exercise resources were in ‘poorer’ condition at site A compared to site B or C (p≤0.05).

Discussion—Results confirm the increased frequency of obesogenic environmental factors and their correlation with obesity trends across 3 distinct NH communities. These results suggest that environmental factors may offer another means for reducing obesity disparities in minority communities.

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