Though there are often conversations about the health of larger minority groups such as African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, smaller groups are a real worry for an increasingly overburdened government health care system.
Most health data only code participants into standard non-Hispanic white, Hispanic, African American and Asian American racial categories, while excluding multiracial, NHOPI and AIAN individuals from analysis. For example, almost all health data about Pacific Islanders are grouped with Asian Americans, who tend to be healthier, and that leaves out a big problem. Using data for nearly 185,000 adults from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), it was found that multiracial, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaskan Native adults in California are more obese and have more diabetes-related health issues than European-Americans, African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.
The study, published in the journal Obesity, found that for multiracial, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaskan Native adults, the odds of being obese were 1.2 to 1.9 times greater than for European-American adults, and the odds of having diabetes were 1.6 to 2.4 times greater.
The authors speculate that social differences are to blame. Adults from every racial minority group studied had lower levels of education, health insurance coverage, and greater poverty than European-Americans, but that these factors only partially contributed to health disparities. They believe exposure to racism may play a greater role in driving obesity-related racial disparities than previously anticipated by suppressing minorities' social and economic opportunities, capital, and health care access.