A debunking of the myth of healthy Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Moon S Chen, B. L. Hawks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Purpose. To present evidence that the model of healthy Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) stereotype is a myth. Search Method. The authors retrieved literature from the National Library of Medicine's compact disk databases (Cancerlit, CINAHL, Health, and MEDLINE), and examined pertinent federal government publications supplemented by the author's knowledge of other published materials. Important Findings. This review paper presents three reasons why AAPIs are underserved: (1) the population growth rate has been unusually rapid and recent; (2) data regarding the health status of AAPIs are inadequate; and (3) the myth that AAPIs are model minority populations in terms of their health status was promulgated. Major Conclusions. The conclusions are as follows: (1) AAPIs are heterogeneous with respect to demographic factors and health risk factors; (2) because the current databases on the health status of AAPIs include small sample sizes, both the quantity and quality of these data need to be improved with respect to appropriate gender and ethnic group representation; (3) Risk factor and mortality data for AAPIs suggest that the burden of certain preventable diseases, namely, tuberculosis, hepatitis-B, liver cancer, and lung cancer may be higher than those of any other racial and ethnic population. The model healthy AAPI stereotype is a myth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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