Categorized | Featured, Health

Pro athletes promote healthy living among Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander youth

President’s Advisory Commission member Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu, both of the NFL’s Pittsburgh’s Steelers, and Marcus McNeill, of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, promote healthy living at UCLA with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move Campaign. (Photo courtesy of Ayesha Walker | The White House)

MEDIA RELEASE

Hundreds of youth joined Hines Ward, member of the President’s Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and receiver for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, along with fellow NFL players Troy Polamalu, safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Marcus McNeill, offensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers, to stress the importance of physical exercise and nutritious meals at a health and fitness fair Saturday, April 2 at the University of California, Los Angeles’s intramural field.

The event sponsored by The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders addressed the soaring obesity and diabetes rates among high school youth, particularly within Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and in the nation’s Pacific region.

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) children have the highest rates of any minority group for being overweight or obese and hold an elevated risk for developing cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Sefa Aina, vice chair of the President’s Advisory Commission, spoke of how native food once grown and eaten by Polynesians have since been replaced on the Pacific Islands by imported products. A reliance on cheap, fast food in the continental United States also has contributed to unhealthy eating.

“One in five NHPI high school youth are obese, and one in three are likely to be overweight or obese,” Aina said. “Today we’re sending a message that physical fitness and eating properly will lead to healthier living.”

He said the message must also come from parents, schools, community leaders and elected officials in order to be effective.

Health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels led a fitness demonstration at the event and stated, “America’s obesity epidemic has reached catastrophic proportions, especially when it comes to our youth. I’m honored to participate in a program that shares my commitment to eradicating this problem and I am grateful for events like these as we continue this important fight.”

Commissioner Hines Ward said, as a professional athlete, he always wants to achieve his best for his teammates every time he steps onto the field. He emphasized that diet and exercise are a critical part of his regimen.

“Balancing a healthy diet with exercise is critical if you want to perform at your best. And teaching your kids this balance at an early age is the key to developing a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “In this age of video games, kids today don’t get much physical exercise and we, as parents, need to change that.”

In 1997, the Office of Management and Budget revised Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting and separated the 1976 racial category of “Asian and Pacific Islander” into two groups: “Asian” and “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.”

In February 2010, President Obama issued a statement recognizing that Native Hawaiians are a vital part of the nation’s cultural fabric. He supported the Substitute Amendment to H.R. 2314, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009, legislation crafted to formally extend a federal policy of self‐governance and self‐determination to Native Hawaiians achieving parity in U.S. treatment of its indigenous peoples – American Indians and Alaska Natives.

In May 2010, the Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Alliance (NHPI) and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) issued joint guidance advocating that the preferred and appropriate reference to these communities should be Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI.)

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is conducting outreach efforts to include all Pacific Islander Americans including Native Hawaiians, Chamoru, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Marshallese, Palauan, Pohnpeian, Chuukese, Yapese, Kosraen and others from the Micronesian, Melanesian and Polynesian Pacific Islander groupings.

BACKGROUND

1.1 million

The estimated number of U.S. residents in July 2009 who said they were Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, either alone or in combination with one or more other races. This group comprised 0.4 percent of the total population. Source: Census Population estimates

California had the largest population of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (284,000), followed by Hawaii (280,000) and Washington (58,000). California had the largest numerical increase in this group between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009 (6,000). In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders comprised the largest proportion (22 percent) of the total population. This includes Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders alone and in combination with one or more other races. Source: Census Population estimates

2.3 percent

Percentage growth of the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population between 2008 and 2009 — third among race groups. This includes Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders alone and in combination with one or more other races. Source: Census Population estimates

$53,455

The median income of households headed by single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders. Source: Census 2009 American Community Survey

15.1

The poverty rate for those who classified themselves as single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. This is not significantly different from the 2008 poverty rate. Source: Census 2009 American Community Survey

17.3 percent

The percentage without health insurance for single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders. Source: Census 2009 American Community Survey

14 percent

The percentage of single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 25 and older who had at least a bachelor’s degree. This compared with 28 percent for the total population. Source: Census 2009 American Community Survey

86 percent

The percentage of single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 25 and older who had at least a high school diploma. This is not statistically different from either the percentage for the total population or the percentage of Asian alone, both 85 percent. Source: Census 2009 American Community Survey

4 percent

The percentage of single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 25 and older who had obtained a graduate or professional degree. This compared with 10 percent for the total population this age. Source: Census 2009 American Community Survey

38,881

The number of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses in 2007, up 34.3 percent from 2002. Source: Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners

$7.0 billion

Total receipts of these businesses, up 62.9 percent from 2002. Source: Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners

26.9 percent

The percent of all Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses that were repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, and construction. Source: Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners

9.4 percent

The percent of businesses in Hawaii owned by Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islanders, highest among all states. Source: Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners

30,110

The number of single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander military veterans. About one in five veterans was 65 years and older. Source: Census 2009 American Community Survey

24 percent

The proportion of civilian employed single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 16 and older who worked in management, professional and related occupations, such as financial managers, engineers, teachers and registered nurses. This is not significantly different from the 25 percent worked in service occupations, while 28 percent worked in sales and office occupations and 14 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations. Source: Census 2009 American Community Survey

176,000

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population (alone or in combination with one or more other races) in Honolulu County, Hawaii, in 2009, which led the nation. Among counties, Harris County, Texas had the largest numerical increase in this race since July 2008 ─ 722. Hawaii County, Hawaii, had the highest percentage of people of this race (30 percent). Source: Census Population estimates

29.9

The median age of the single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population in 2009. The median age was 36.8 for the population as a whole. Source: Census Population estimates

34 percent

Percentage of the single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population that was under age 18 as of July 1, 2009 while 6.3 percent was 65 or older. Source: Census Population estimates

2.6 million

The projected number of U.S. residents in 2050 who will identify themselves as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander in combination with one or more other races. They would comprise 0.6 percent of the total population by that year. Source: Census Population projections

132 percent

The projected percentage increase between 2008 and 2050 in the population of people who identify themselves as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander in combination with one or more other races. This compares with a 44 percent increase in the population as a whole over the same period of time. Source: Census Population projections

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