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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Na Wahine O Ke Kai canoe

Health Research

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 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.

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).

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