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

Am J Health Promot. 1995 Mar-Apr;9(4):261-8. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-9.4.261.


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 authors' 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 heterogenous 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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia / ethnology
  • Asian*
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Demography
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Pacific Islands / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology