For Immediate Release
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News from the May 2010 American Journal of Public Health

AJPH News Release


EMBARGOED UNTIL March 18, 2010, 4 PM (ET)


CONTACT:  For copies of articles, call APHA Communications at 202-777-2511 or email us.


The articles below will be published online March 18, 2010, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look,”  and they are currently scheduled to appear in the May 2010 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association. To stay up-to-date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new Journal content email alerts.


American Journal of Public Health Highlights:

·         Discrimination, Language Barriers Linked to Adverse Health among Asian Americans in California

·         U.S.-Born Asians Show Higher Breast Cancer Survival Rates than Foreign-Born Asians

·         Life Expectancy Gains in South Korea Attributed to Declines in Infant Mortality and Cardiovascular Diseases

Discrimination, Language Barriers Linked to Adverse Health among Asian Americans in California
A new study found that reported discrimination and limited English proficiency were associated with decreased health-related quality of life among Asian Americans in California.


Researchers studied respondents in the California Health Interview Survey in 2003 and 2005, including 2,576 Chinese, 1,426 Filipino, 833 Japanese, 1,128 Korean, 822 South Asian and 938 Vietnamese participants. The study assessed health-related quality of life with self-related health and the Centers for Disease Control Prevention’s measures of activity limitation days and unhealthy days. Overall, they found that Asians who reported racial discrimination or who had limited English proficiency were more likely to have poor quality of life. For example, South Asian participants who reported discrimination had an estimated 12.1 more activity limitation days annually than South Asians who did not report discrimination.


The study authors noted, "A sizeable number of Asian Americans reported encountering discrimination in the past year alone. This finding counters the popular belief that Asian Americans are a successful “model” minority who no longer experience racial adversity. Further, our data suggest that promoting civil rights may have good side effects by also promoting health.” 

[From: “Associations between Racial Discrimination, Limited English Proficiency, and Health-Related Quality of Life among 6 Asian Ethnic Groups in California.” Contact: Gilbert C. Gee, PhD, School of Public Health, University of California].

U.S.-Born Asians Show Higher Breast Cancer Survival Rates than Foreign-Born Asians

A new study concludes that survival after breast cancer is less likely among foreign-born Asians than among Asians born in the United States.


Researchers from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (formerly Northern California Cancer Center) examined data from the California Cancer Registry and the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program to understand the effect of immigrant status, neighborhood socioeconomic status and ethnic enclave on mortality among Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, South Asian and Vietnamese women diagnosed with breast cancer from 1988 to 2005 and followed through 2007. Among their findings, they discovered that U.S.-born women had fewer deaths from breast cancer and other causes and higher five-year survival probabilities than did foreign-born women.


“Health statistics aggregated across broad ethnic categories, such as Asians, may mask disparities between specific ethnic populations,” suggest Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D., the study’s lead author. “In our examination of the association between immigrant status and breast cancer survival across six Asian ethnic populations, we found that, with the exception of Japanese women, foreign-born Asian women had consistently more advanced breast cancer stage at diagnosis and, consequently, lower survival rates than their U.S. counterparts.”

[From: “Disparities in Breast Cancer Survival among Asian Women by Ethnicity and Immigrant Status: A Population-Based Study.” Contact: Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D.,  Cancer Prevention Institute of California (formerly Northern California Cancer Center), Fremont, Calif.].  

Life Expectancy Gains in South Korea Attributed to Declines in Infant Mortality and Cardiovascular Diseases

Infant mortality decline as well as reductions in cardiovascular diseases were found to be the major drivers of the longer life expectancy in South Korea between 1970 and 2005. 


Researchers examined life expectancy increases in the past several decades in South Korea by age and specific causes of death. They used life table data (1970-2005) and mortality statistics (1983-2005) from the Korea National Statistical Office in their evaluation. According to the author, South Korea’s life expectancy lagged behind the U.S.’s life expectancy by 17.3 years in 1960 but exceeded the U.S in 2005.The results from this study showed that reductions in infant mortality made the largest age-group contribution to the life expectancy increase. Furthermore, reductions in cardiovascular diseases contributed most to longer life expectancy between 1983 and 2005. In addition, lower rates of stomach cancer, liver disease, tuberculosis and external-cause mortality accounted for 30 percent of the male and 20 percent of the female increase in longevity. In contrast, higher mortality from ischemic heart disease, lung and bronchial cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, diabetes and suicide offset gains by 10 percent in both genders.


Although significant strides have been made with life expectancy rates in South Korea over the past several decades, the study’s authors caution that “mortality from ischemic heart disease, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and diabetes is on the rise in Korea. The harmful health effects of climbing smoking rates after World War II and recent Westernization of diets, especially among younger Koreans, will likely push mortality from these diseases higher. Future public health efforts should aim to improve preventive measures and treatment for these diseases.”

[From: “Understanding the Rapid Increase in Life Expectancy in South Korea.” Contact: Young-Ho Khang, Dept. of Preventive Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea].        
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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health.   

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