176421 Obesity among Samoans living in Seattle: A qualitative analysis

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mei-Po Yip , Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Shin-Ping Tu, MD MPH , Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Siniva T. Driggers, RN , Samoan National Nurses Association, Tacoma, WA
Nancy Healy, MS , Alliance for Reducing Cancer NW, UW Health Promotion Research Center, Seattle, WA
Vicky Taylor, MD, MPH , Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Purpose: With the high prevalence of obesity among Samoans, this population is at risk for cardiovascular diseases. The objectives of this study are: 1) to understand factors promoting obesity; 2) to identify Samoan dietary habits that both contribute to and deter obesity; and 3) to identify barriers to and facilitators of physical activity in the Samoan community. Method: We are completing 4 focus groups with adult Samoans living in Seattle, Washington, by using an ethnographic approach. Samoans over 18 years of age are recruited by convenience sampling. All focus groups are conducted in English, audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for content. Results: Preliminary results show that Samoans face substantial challenges in preventing obesity. Dietary issues associated with overweight and obesity include consumption of traditional Samoan foods that are high in carbohydrates, frequent visits to fast food restaurants, and lack of vegetable intake. Participation in physical activities is low because of lack of time, financial issues, concern for personal safety, and a cultural attitude described as “laid back.” Awareness of the negative consequences of obesity (e.g., diabetes) is low because little attention is paid to physical appearance, cultural norms do not recognize large body size as a problem, and little understanding exists regarding the contribution of obesity to developing chronic illness. Conclusions: Education in this population requires understanding Samoan culture, traditional beliefs, and ways of life. Efforts should start at the level of family and community to empower Samoans to make healthy choices.

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to: •Understand what is a traditional Samoan diet; •Understand the meaning of “Obesity”, “Health” and “Exercise” in Samoan culture; •Identify some of the barriers to exercise in Samoan community; •Understand some of the traditional health beliefs in Samoan culture; •Identify ways to promote health living in Samoan population.

Keywords: Obesity, Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am PhD level researcher.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.