Sela Panapasa

Sela PanapasaPacific Islanders living in California are much more likely to smoke and be obese than other Californians, according to a study headed by ISR researcher Sela Panapasa. The study, featured in the Sept. 24 Los Angeles Times, found that about 46 percent of adult Pacific Islanders were smokers, compared to about 13 percent of other California adults, and that 23 percent of Pacific Islander adolescents had tried smoking cigarettes, compared to 3.5 percent of California teens. In addition, among Pacific Islanders, more than 80 percent of adults and more than half of teenagers were overweight or obese. Researchers conducted interviews among Tongans in the Bay Area and Samoans in Southern California. “By identifying the problem areas facing specific Pacific Islander communities, we can finally begin to chart a course to develop interventions that will help to reduce these health disparities and build healthy communities,” Panapasa said.