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Health and Health Behaviors of Japanese Americans in California: A Sign of Things to Come for Aging Americans?

April 29, 2015

Policy Research Report

Authors: Ying-Ying Meng, DrPH, Tamanna Rahman, Melissa Pickett, MPH , Ninez A. Ponce, PhD, MPP

This report provides a close look at the health and health behaviors of the Japanese American population in California. Using data from the California Health Interview Survey (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011-2012), this report examines a number of health indicators for Japanese Americans compared to other Asian ethnic groups in the state (Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, South Asian, and other Asian), as well as other racial/ethnic groups (Latinos, African Americans, Whites, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and other single and multi-ethnic Californians). While Japanese Americans are too often lumped together with other Asian ethnic groups, this report shows that they have unique health concerns and assets relative to other Asian ethnic groups and the general population.

Specifically, the authors look at 15 indicators related to health status and health behavior and for three different populations: Those who identify as being "only" Japanese — typically with parents who both were Japanese; those who identify as being mixed-race; and those who identified as being Japanese in some way.
 
The authors find that elderly Japanese-Americans had lower risks for nine of 15 health indicators than other Asian and other racial and ethnic groups in California. Older Japanese-Americans, however, did have higher rates of arthritis and hypertension than seniors in other racial and ethnic groups. Japanese-only residents, in large part the older generation, tend to have health behaviors and health outcomes that are better than the racially mixed younger generations.
 
This report was supported by a grant from Keiro Senior HealthCare.
 

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