Category: Maximizing Quality of Life

18 - Healthy Eating Healthy Aging: A Community-based Intervention program for older Asian American and Pacific Islanders

In the U.S., Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing segments of the older adult population. AAPI older adults 65 and older are projected to surpass 2.5 million by 2020, and by 2050 are projected to reach over 7.6 million (U.S. Census). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of deaths among the AAPI population; 4.5% have coronary artery disease, 6.8% have heart disease, and 21.7% have hypertension. A well-balanced nutrition and low salt diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. While education programs focused on heart health are available in the English language, finding culturally tailored programs for AAPIs, with their food preferences and translated in-language to AAPI subgroups are lacking. To meet the needs of a growing AAPI older adult population, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) developed a Healthy Eating Healthy Aging (HEHA) program for AAPIs ages 55 and older using the train-the-trainer model and tested its impact on fruit and vegetable consumption (FVC) and salt intake monitoring. The HEHA was translated into seven different AAPI languages, including Chinese, Khmer, Korean, Japanese, Samoan, Tagalog, and Vietnamese and delivered through 19 community-based organizations (CBOs) in nine US states. The program focused on three components: Healthy eating, nutrition label reading and heart health. The program was delivered in group settings, and each participant attended at least 6 hour of education. Combined, the 19 CBOs reached 906 participants. A pre- and post-design was used to evaluate the impact of the program on FVC and salt intake monitoring. Participant’s mean age was 71.91 years (+9.5); many were female (69%) and reported not speaking English well (78%). Participants reported high blood pressure (46%), diabetes (28%), arthritis (32%) and heart disease (16%). Participants increased their FVC consumption and salt intake monitoring after participating in the program. Participants reported eating more servings of fruits (5.74 to 5.92), vegetables (5.77 to 6.0), monitoring their salt intake (6.45 to 7.12) and reading nutrition labels (47% to  63%). A HEHA program, culturally and linguistically adapted for AAPIs can impact nutrition among older AAPIs. The train-the-trainer model with CBOs can serve as a potential tool to disseminate the HEHA programs nationally.


Eun Jeong Lee

National Director
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging

Dr. Eun Jeong Lee has worked to serve disadvantaged people for more than 25 years in various non-profit areas, including elders, women, children, the disabled, and the victims of domestic violence in Korea and the U.S. Dr. Lee, as National Director of Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) at National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA), is overseeing the SCSEP program in 7 states nationwide. In addition, she is collaborating academic institutes to conduct several research studies about financial well-being, elder mistreatment, caregiver, and heart health in Asian American and Pacific Island (AAPI) communities, including as principle investigator of research project, “Evaluation of the Check. Change, Control. Program’s delivery to Asian American older adults” funded by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She also managed Healthy Eating Healthy Aging project funded by Walmart Foundation as nutritional education program among AAPI older adults in 9 states in the U.S.
Dr. Lee holds B.A. in Journalism and Mass communication and M.P.A. in social work policy from Hanyang University in Korea, and Ph.D. in Social Welfare from Yeshiva University in New York.

Linda Ko

Associate Professor
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Ko is the director of the Health Communication Research Center. She is a behavioral scientist with expertise in the development, testing, evaluation, and dissemination of health communication strategies. Her work draws from the discipline of communication, marketing, social epidemiology, and social and behavioral sciences. Her research aims to understand community’s behavior within the socio-cultural context, develop interventions that will address those behaviors and translate knowledge through community-based participatory research. Her work has been funded from private and public agencies including the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Ko received a PhD degree from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and is currently a Member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and an Associate Professor at the University of Washington Department of Health Services. Dr. Ko is a native speaker of Spanish and Korean, and she is fluent in English, Spanish and Korean.

Annie Feng

National Coordinator of Senior Community Service Employment Program
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging

Annie Feng, MSW, is the NAPCA SCSEP National Coordinator. Ms. Feng has experiences working with the AAPI community in non-profit organizations in Seattle.

Sonia Bishop

Project Manager
Fred Hutchin Cancer Research Center

Ms. Sonia Bishop is project manager at Division of Public Health Sciences at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Eric Choi

System Analyst
Fred Hutchin Cancer Research Center

Mr. Eric Choi is Systems Analyst & Programmer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Yesol Kim

Fred Hutchin Cancer Research Center

Ms. Yesol Kim is an intern at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.