Strategic Priority: Mauli Ola
To improve the quality and longevity of life, Native Hawaiians will enjoy healthy lifestyles and experience reduced onset of chronic diseases
Why is this important?
Our focus on health is part of a larger effort to improve conditions for Native Hawaiians. We believe that obesity is one of the greatest threats to the health of Native Hawaiians. In response, we are taking steps to help significantly reduce their obesity rate, which is due to health concerns associated with a lack of physical activity and proper nutrition.
In fact, a new law we fought for commits the state to doing more to close Native Hawaiian health gaps, including emphasizing international and national best practices in addressing the social determinants of health, such as access to education, housing, transportation human services and healthy foods.
With this new measure, state agencies are urged to consider such factors as neighborhood safety and the availability of open spaces, which could impact how much time individuals spend outside or exercising. These and other social determinants have a direct bearing on the health of individuals and are particularly useful in addressing the health concerns, including our efforts to combat a critically-important health issue as obesity.
What is our aim?
Our research shows us that:
Chronic Diseases, Family Lifestyle Choices and the Social Determinants of Health for Native Hawaiians need to be addressed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being overweight or obese increases the risk for many diseases and health conditions including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, gallbladder disease, blood lipids (e.g., cholesterol), and some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon).
Early identification of maternal disease and risks for complications of pregnancy or birth are the primary reasons for first trimester entry into prenatal care. This can help ensure that women with complex problems and women with chronic illness or other risks are seen by specialists if required. Early high quality prenatal care is critical to improving pregnancy outcomes (Hawaiʻi PRAMS).
Substance abuse has a major impact on the health, safety, and quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. The effects are cumulative and contribute to costly social, physical, mental, and public health problems. These problems include: teenage pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), domestic violence, child abuse, motor vehicle crashes, physical fights, crime, homicide, suicide, loss of employment, heart disease, cancer, and alienation from friends and family (ADAD, HP2020).
Maximizing impact through key collaborations
OHA and its community partners will use their collective reach and access to engage policymakers in these efforts as well as build public awareness and identify comprehensive solutions to this critically-important public health issue.
Strategic priority in action: Mauli Ola
HONOLULU – A bill signed into law on June 30th, 2014, commits the state government to taking a comprehensive and modernized approach to eliminating critical health disparities that affect Native Hawaiians and other vulnerable populations.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs advocated for the policy change during this year’s legislative session, which emphasizes international and national best practices in addressing the “social determinants of health,” such as access to education, housing, transportation, human services and healthy foods.
With this new measure, state agencies are urged to consider such factors as neighborhood safety and the availability of open spaces, which could impact how much time individuals spend outside or exercising. These and other social determinants have a direct bearing on the health of individuals and are particularly useful in addressing the health disparities of the most health-vulnerable communities.
“OHA has been one of the strongest advocates for closing the health disparities that affect Native Hawaiians,” said Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, Ka Pouhana and CEO. “With this new law, the state acknowledges the importance of smart and strategic health planning and has reiterated its commitment to address the health status of Native Hawaiians and other vulnerable communities.”
Known as OHA’s Health Planning bill HB1616/SB2103, the measure was the focus of a bill-signing ceremony at the State Capitol. The measure updates the state’s health planning statute. It also supports a top priority at OHA to improve the health of Native Hawaiians by reducing their obesity rate (Video below).
Tracking our progress in real time
The data presented below is a snapshot of how weʻre doing in the strategic priority area of Mauli Ola and is part of a larger effort to provide transparency and improve accountability. To view the full dashboard, please visit dashboard.hawaii.gov/oha.