Relationship Between Health Behaviors and Obesity in a Sample of Hawai'i's 4 Most Populous Ethnicities

Hiroko Yoshida, Jay E. Maddock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Proactive health behavior change and maintenance are essential for preventing obesity and other lifestyle diseases. Few studies have examined the relationship between eating behavior and physical condition among multiethnic samples. In this study, ethnic differences were examined to obtain basic data on health education for improvement of obesity in Hawai'i. The intake of fruits and vegetables and exercise habits in each of the transtheoretical model stages of change were evaluated in the 4 most populous ethnic groups in Hawai'i in terms of how the participants' health behaviors were associated with obesity. The participants comprised 2795 white, Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Japanese adults (age range, 18-55 years). There are 4 main findings of this study. First, there were differences in fruit and vegetable intake and exercise habits in each transtheoretical model stage among the ethnic groups. Second, there were differences in attitudes regarding nutrition and healthy food intake and self-efficacy regarding exercise in each ethnic group. Third, items that have the potential to improve obesity in the theory of planned behavior differed, particularly among men, in the 4 ethnic groups. Finally, a low percentage of participants recognized that the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables was 5 or more. Education for men may be particularly important. The findings indicate that modified health education approaches may be needed in accordance with the ethnicity of the population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
JournalHawai'i journal of health & social welfare
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • ethnic groups
  • Hawai‘i
  • health behavior
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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