The Integral Role of Food in Native Hawaiian Migrants’ Perceptions of Health and Well-Being


family health, transcultural health, qualitative method, nutrition, food, diet, migration, health promotion, health perception, well-being


Purpose: Obesity is prevalent among Native Hawaiians, but the relationship between food and perceptions of health and well-being is not well understood. The purpose was to explore the role of food in Native Hawaiians’ perceptions of health and well-being. Design: A qualitative descriptive design was used. Twenty-seven Native Hawaiian participants in Las Vegas took part in semistructured interviews. Results: Participants expressed that food can be dangerous to health. However, eating Hawaiian food seems to relieve homesickness, and they occasionally indulge in binge overeating. Conclusions: Hawaiian food plays an important role in participants’ health and well-being. Participants’ concurrent attraction to Hawaiian-style food and desire to avoid unhealthy food create a challenging struggle. Implications for Practice: To support cultural connectedness, Native Hawaiians can be encouraged to expend consumed calories in physical activity as their ancestors did. Discussing nutrition from a family framework might be helpful to Native Hawaiians.

Original Publication Citation

Lassetter, J. H. (2011). The integral role of food in Native Hawaiian migrants’ perceptions of health and well-being. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 22(1), 63-70.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Transcultural Nursing





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor