Physical and Mental Health Consequences of Katrina on Vietnamese Immigrants in New Orleans: A Pre- and Post-Disaster Assessment

Population Services International, Washington, DC, USA.
Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (Impact Factor: 1.16). 07/2011; 14(3):386-94. DOI: 10.1007/s10903-011-9504-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We assessed the health impacts of a natural disaster upon a major immigrant community by comparing pre- and post-event measures for identical individuals. We collected standard health measures for a population-based sample of working-age Vietnamese-Americans living in New Orleans in 2005, just weeks before Katrina occurred. Near the first- and second-year anniversaries of the event, we located and re-assessed more than two-thirds of this original pre-Katrina cohort. We found statistically significant declines in health status for seven of the eight standard SF-36 subscales and for both the physical and mental health component summaries at the first anniversary of the disaster. By the second anniversary, recovery of the health dimensions assessed by these measures was substantial and significant. Most of the SF-36 mental and physical health subscales returned to their original pre-Katrina levels. Being in middle-age, being engaged in professional or self-employed occupations, being unmarried, being less acculturated, and having extensive post-Katrina property damage have statistically significant negative effects on post-Katrina health status, and several of these factors continued to impede recovery by the second anniversary. Hurricane Katrina had significant negative impacts on the mental and physical health of Vietnamese New Orleanians. Several factors present clear opportunities for targeted interventions.

Download full-text


Available from: Lung Vu, Aug 29, 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We distinguish between selection and true migration effects on weight and body fat for Vietnamese immigrants; and examine the role of acculturation on these outcomes. Data (n = 703) were collected among three population-based samples of working-age Vietnamese immigrants, repatriated emigrants and never-migrated Vietnamese nationals. This allows for a decomposition exercise to separate the effects of migration effects from selection effects on body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR). Immigrants are more likely to be overweight and to have high WHR, relative to both never-leavers and returnees, a pattern reflecting the importance of migration over selection. Among immigrants, coming to the US at a younger age is associated with higher BMI and WHR levels. And longer length of residence in the US is related to higher BMI. While higher Vietnamese language proficiency is related to a lower BMI level, being bilingual (proficient in both English and Vietnamese) is associated with lower risks for being overweight. The distinct pattern of results suggests that more problematic weight status and fat distribution among Vietnamese immigrants relative to Vietnamese nationals are not artifacts of the types of persons choosing to emigrate, but rather are due to acculturation to American diet and lifestyles. While efforts to promote and maintain traditional patterns of diet and lifestyle are likely to help Vietnamese and other immigrants avoid the perils of American patterns, facilitating a bi-cultural orientation is perhaps the most realistic approach for preserving protective features of the culture of origin with regard to body weight and fat distribution.
    Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 03/2012; 14(5):786-96. DOI:10.1007/s10903-012-9595-5 · 1.16 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In 2006, El Paso County, a predominantly Hispanic urban area, was affected by a flood disaster; 1,500 homes were damaged. We assessed the health impacts of the disaster upon 475 individuals whose homes were flood-damaged using mail survey data and logistic regression. Substantial proportions of individuals had one or more physical (43 %) or mental (18 %) health problem in the four months following the floods; 28 % had one or more injury or acute effect related to post-flood cleanup. Adverse event experiences, older age, and lower socioeconomic status were significantly associated with negative post-flood health outcomes in all three logistic regression models. A lack of access to healthcare, non-US citizenship, and English proficiency were significant predictors of negative outcomes in both the physical and mental health models, while Hispanic ethnicity (physical), native-birth (mental), and more serious home damage (cleanup) were significant predictors in one model each. The disaster had disproportionate negative health impacts on those who were more exposed, poorer, older, and with constrained resource-access. While a lack of US citizenship and Hispanic ethnicity were associated with higher risks, being less acculturated (i.e., English-deficient, foreign-born) may have protected against health impacts.
    Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 04/2012; 15(2). DOI:10.1007/s10903-012-9626-2 · 1.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: To longitudinally characterize child survivors' quality of life after a massive earthquake in low- and middle-income settings. METHODS: Population-based surveys were conducted in the severely affected areas 15 and 36 months after the earthquake, using a multi-stage systematic sampling design. RESULTS: A total of 596 participants were included in the initial assessment, of which 430 were re-surveyed in the follow-up assessment. For both assessments, means of the PedsQL total and subscale scores fell significantly below the general healthy children (P < 0.05 for all comparisons). Reduction in PedsQL total scores was observed from the initial to the follow-up assessment (82.2 vs. 80.3, P = 0.01). In regression analysis, mental health symptoms were examined as the biggest contributors for PedsQL scores, and girls and older children were found to report lower PedsQL scores than their counterparts. CONCLUSIONS: Health-related quality of life among child and adolescent survivors decreased over time. Besides helping children with identified risk experiences, attention should also be allocated to children without specific traumatic experiences, since the earthquake may have a delayed effect on them.
    Quality of Life Research 05/2012; 2013. DOI:10.1007/s11136-012-0201-z · 2.86 Impact Factor
Show more