Health Disparities Among Filipino Americans

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Health Disparities: Focus on the Filipino-American Population in the USA

As a Filipino-American nurse living in Los Angeles, California, this writer has been a witness and an active participant in the multifactorial influences/aspects that affect the Filipino-Americans, in health and illness. Being a grandmother of wonderful grandkids has brought me further exposure to the plight of elderly Filipino-Americans in the United States of America. The Institute of Medicine’s Report on Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial/Ethical Disparities in Health Care states that cultural bias is one contributor to racial and ethnic minorities having higher rates of poor health outcomes than Whites in the case of disease; even when income, employment status and insurance coverage are controlled. A survey of current literature suggests that as a group, Filipino-Americans are comparatively under-studied vis-à-vis health and health care disparities in the United States. The literature that does cover the subject suggests that Filipino-Americans (as a group) do experience disparities in health and health care. Javier (2007) noted that on a national level, Filipino-Americans are the second largest Asian/Pacific Islander (API) population. Within this population, Filipino-American youth and adolescents in the US show disparities compared to Anglo and other API groups in regard to gestational diabetes, rates of neonatal mortality and low birth weight, malnutrition in young children, obesity, physical inactivity and fitness, tuberculosis, dental caries and substance abuse. Within Los Angeles County, Bitler and Shi (2006) analyzed disparities across groups based on health insurance, health care use and health status. While they did not focus on Filipino-Americans as a discrete subpopulation, they noted that differences in the prevalence of chronic health conditions across different immigrant racial and ethnic groups were reduced after controlling for such factors as family income,...
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