241166 Role of Obesity in the Perception of Wellness among American Indians

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Felicia Schanche Hodge, DrPH , School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Karabi Sinha Nandy, PhD , School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Obesity is epidemic among American Indians. Understanding the complex factors associated with obesity, perceptions of wellness, and barriers to wellness among this population will improve interventions, as well as help direct local, tribal, state and national health policy for Indigenous people. A cross-sectional randomized household survey was conducted with 457 American Indian adults who received services at one of 13 healthcare sites in California. Measures included body mass index (BMI), socio-demographic characteristics, wellness perceptions/barriers, general health, spirituality, and abuse history. Females were significantly likely to be obese/morbidly obese (p=.0007). Wellness perceptions and general health status were different between BMI categories (p=.005 and p=.002, respectively). The morbidly obese reported health status limiting activities (p=.003). Differences in obesity status and diseases were seen in diabetes (p=.0004), arthritis (p=.04) and hypertension (p=.03). Morbidly obese were likely to have been physically (p=.002) and sexually (p=0.03) abused in childhood. Poor general health status remained a significant predictor of perceived wellness across BMI comparisons. Higher BMI categories had poorer health status and were more limited in achieving wellness. Our study shows obesity, perceptions of wellness, and physical health status are strongly interconnected, which has important implications at the policy level.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss relationships between obesity, wellness and physical health status among American Indians. 2. Identify policy recommendations to address the obesity epidemic among American Indians at local, tribal and state levels.

Keywords: Native Americans, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a professor and the director of the Center for American Indian/Indigenous Research and Education (CAIIRE) and have overseen numerous research grants serving American Indians on a variety of health topics, including obesity prevention.
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.