Health> Vol.5 No.11B, November 2013

Parent and friend influences on the multiple health behavior of Pacific Islander adolescents


Youth obesity has increased dramatically in the United States, disproportionally affecting Hawaiian populations. The primary research objective was to describe the influence of parent and friends on the dietary, physical activity, and sedentary behaviors of Pacific Islander high school students. Data were collected from classrooms within a private high school on the Hawaiian island Oahu. Participants were Pacific Islander adolescents attending a high school in Hawaii. Participating adolescents completed a questionnaire, followed by a corresponding focus group; specifically reporting the social-level influences on their dietary and activity behaviors. Adolescents then interviewed their parent/guardian, asking questions relative to their perceived health-related influence. Participating adolescents (N = 60) were 53% female with a mean age of 16.93 (SD = 0.63), and their parents/guardians (N = 47) were 75% female with a mean age of 46.72 (SD = 5.11). Outcomes revealed parents/ guardians as the dominant influence on adolescents’ dietary behaviors, and time spent with parents was almost exclusively sedentary. In comparison, adolescents were more active with friends, but shared less healthy dietary habits. Results provide groundwork for similar examinations and culturally tailored interventions among similar adolescent populations.


Cite this paper

Geller, K. , Hendricks, T. , Alvarez, A. , Braceros, K. and Nigg, C. (2013) Parent and friend influences on the multiple health behavior of Pacific Islander adolescents. Health, 5, 5-11. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.511A2002.


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