Fil-Ams’ health, well-being dropped after pandemic, says Hawaii survey
Wondering if it’s normal to feel like you haven’t fully recovered from the pandemic lockdowns when COVID-19 showed up more than three years ago? Findings from a recently published report by the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) from a survey conducted in June 2023 reveal that Filipinos living in Hawaii are among the demographic reporting lower health ratings. There are several reasons behind it.
In the UHERO Public Health Report published on July 12 titled “Shaping Health in Hawaiʻi: The Influences of Poverty, Housing and Food Insecurity,” 1,575 adult residents across Hawaii were surveyed to examine the links between mental health, food security, and socio-economic determinants such as housing conditions and poverty status. Filipinos represented 7.8 percent of the study’s sample.
The survey found that while more than 70 percent of participants considered their health to be good to excellent, Native Hawaiians and Filipinos tended to report lower health ratings compared to white and non-Filipino Asian residents—with unemployment and recent COVID-19 positivity as the significant risk factors at play.
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Other survey results
In correlation, Native Hawaiians and Filipinos also reported higher rates of food insecurity, delayed mental health care, and low income. The survey “observed a striking relationship between the proportion of household income spent on housing and food insecurity, highlighting the interconnected nature of financial stability, housing security, and access to food.”
— University of Hawaii at Manoa (@uhmanoa) July 13, 2023
“The pervasive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly long COVID, highlight the continuous need for multifaceted interventions that address economic stability, housing security, and equitable healthcare,” said lead researcher Ruben Juarez, UHERO-HMSA Endowed Professor in Health Economics.
While the report only provides descriptive analyses of the data, UHERO’s public health team hopes to increase the sample size of survey respondents. They also aim to have better indicators of causal relationships in future reports. Still, they hope that it “sheds light on some of the pressing problems in the state, and it can provide valuable guidance for policymakers and the community.”