Investigating health and diabetes perceptions among hmong American children, 9-18 years of age

Urvashi Mulasi-Pokhriyal, Chery Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


After immigrating to the United States (US), obesity and diabetes have increased among the Hmong. Therefore, this study investigated how Hmong children perceive health and diabetes risk so that appropriate interventions may be planned. Hmong children (N = 335), ages 9-18 years participated in this study. A survey used Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) as the theoretical framework and silhouette drawing instrument. Heights and weights were measured and body mass indexes (BMIs) were calculated. About half of the children were either overweight (BMI ≥ 85th < 95th percentile) or obese (BMI ≥ 95th percentile). About 75% chose average sized silhouettes as healthiest and heaviest silhouettes as diabetic shape. Environmental influences including food availability, parents, and media influenced children's health perceptions. Results suggest a need for culturally appropriate interventions, aiming towards a child's environment and educating them about risks associated with obesity and diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-477
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We would like to thank the Hmong community for their gracious participation in this research project. Furthermore, we would like to thank Dr. Lisa Franzen-Castle for her assistance with this project both during the focus group and survey components of the project. This project was funded by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • Asian Americans
  • Diabetes in Asian youth
  • Hmong
  • Hmong health perceptions


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