Tuesday, March 2, 1999

Study: Isle behavior-
related health concerns rise

Weight, blood pressure and
alcohol problems are climbing

By Richard Borreca


Hawaii's residents are a tad more overweight, their blood pressure is up a bit and they are more likely to have an alcohol-related illness.

That's according to data just released from the Centers for Disease Control on 1995 to 1997 behavioral risk factors.

In 1995, 22.4 percent of the more than 2,000 Hawaii citizens surveyed were at risk for health problems related to being overweight.


In comparison, 26.6 percent were overweight last year.

Also in 1995, 21.1 percent had been told they had high blood pressure.

That figure climbed to 23.9 percent last year.

The survey also showed the effects of Hawaii's ongoing recession, as those who reported not having worked in more than a year grew from 1.5 percent in 1995 to 3.2 percent in 1997.

In 1995, 58 percent of Hawaii residents said they were employed, while last year, 56.3 percent could make the same claim.

The number of middle-income wage earners also went down between 1995 and 1997, according to the telephone survey.

Back in 1995, 21.1 percent said they made between $25,000 and $34,999 in annual household income, compared with 16.7 percent in 1997.

Those with family incomes between $35,000 and $49,999 also decreased.

But those making more than $50,000 went up from 32 percent to 33.6 percent.

Compared with the rest of the nation, we have a better chance of getting health care, as 93.6 percent have health coverage, while 88 percent of the nation reports having health-care coverage.

In Hawaii, 18.7 percent say they smoke cigarettes. The national median is 23.2 percent.

Julian Lipsher, project director with the state of Hawaii's tobacco project, says the encouraging news for Hawaii masks the large number of native Hawaiians and Asian immigrants who smoke.

"There is still a great deal of education that needs to be done," he said.

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