Developing a multilingual questionnaire and surname list to sample Utah Pacific Islanders

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2013 Mar-Apr;19(2):E25-31. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e318252ee60.


Context: Analyses of Utah vital records indicated that Utah Pacific Islanders had unique health problems that merited further investigation through a behavioral survey. However, statewide surveys did not reach a large enough sample of Pacific Islanders and were not administered in Samoan or Tongan.

Objective: The authors sought to complete a surveillance study of Utah Pacific Islanders.

Design: The authors created a surname list on the basis of names of parents who identified themselves as Pacific Islanders on Utah birth certificates. A questionnaire was developed with input of local Pacific Islanders and administered in English, Samoan, and Tongan.

Setting: Utah.

Participants: We interviewed 605 adult Utah Pacific Islanders.

Results: The Utah Pacific Islander Survey (UPIS) generated estimates of health status among Utah Pacific Islanders with smaller confidence intervals than those derived from the Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), even when combining 6 years of BRFSS data. Standard errors were less than half the value of the BRFSS estimates in all cases. The UPIS estimated higher rates than the BRFSS for Pacific Islander diabetes, obesity, and male arthritis. Respondents interviewed in Samoan or Tongan had higher rates of diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Conclusions: The UPIS identified significant health disparities among the Utah Pacific Islander population that warrant public health intervention, such as high rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure and low rates of preventive screening. The UPIS estimates of Utah Pacific Islander health status are more precise than those acquired by the BRFSS, establishing strong baseline data that can be used to measure the success of interventions targeting these disparities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cultural Competency
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multilingualism*
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / ethnology*
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Program Development*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Utah
  • Young Adult