Health status of older Asian Americans in California.
ABSTRACT Given the paucity of research on differences between older adults representing the many Asian-American subcategories, the present study explored physical and mental health status in five subcategories of Asian Americans aged 60 and older: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Filipino. Data were drawn from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). Background characteristics and physical and mental health conditions were compared, with results showing differences cross the five subcategories of older Asian Americans. Specific patterns were identified in chronic diseases, disease comorbidity, and disability rates. Vietnamese and Filipinos tended to have poorer physical health than Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. The poorest self-rated health and the highest disability rate were found in the older Vietnamese. Filipinos also exhibited the greatest number of chronic diseases, including the highest rates of asthma, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Although Koreans had the fewest self-reported chronic diseases and the least evidence of disease comorbidity, they also had the highest psychological distress. The lowest psychological distress was found in older Japanese. Findings suggest that generalizing findings from one particular Asian category or from an aggregate Asian category may be problematic and may not reflect an accurate picture of the burden of health in specific Asian categories. Being aware of these differences in background and health characteristics may help providers to better serve older Asian clients.