Healthy Eating and Active Living

APPEAL is committed to the health of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and other communities of color. Close on the heels of tobacco, obesity is a chief contributor to death and disease in our communities and APPEAL is working to change that by increasing accesses to the things we need to make healthy eating and active living part of where and how we live our lives.

Obesity rates are expected to rise to 42% and severe obesity to 11% in the United States, by 2030. One-third of US adults are now obese, and obesity among children has risen from 5 to 17 % in the past 30 years. Alarmingly, these percentages are higher for communities of color, as well as low-income, less-educated, and rural populations. For instance, rates of obesity in adults are over 50% in at least 10 Pacific countries, and a majority of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Hawai`i (more than 75%) and those in California (more than 70%) are overweight or obese. Samoan children have the largest percentage (54%) of all children in California whose BMI is not within the Healthy Fitness Zone.

The obesity epidemic has been declared the most significant public health challenge in the United States, due to the scale of its impact on the general population through the development of debilitating and costly chronic diseases. Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease are both part of the devastating health tsunami brought on by physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Nutrition experts say that weight gain simply results when people take in more calories than they burn off, but healthy eating and obesity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders is not that simple. The Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander population is comprised of more than 100 different language groups that trace their heritage to more than 50 countries. We sometimes live in neighborhoods that make healthy choices more difficult.

APPEAL’s HEAL Advisory Subcommittee provides expertise and leadership on issues pertaining to healthy eating and active living in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Guidance from the subcommittee provides focus for APPEAL’s work through our HEAL-focused programs.