Road traffic noise linked to heightened risk of midriff bulge

Recent research indicated that noise from traffic, airplanes, and trains could be responsible for expanding waistlines.

According to the research result, there was an association between road traffic noise and waist size, with a 0.21 cm increase for every additional 5 dB increase in exposure, although this was only significant among women.

At the same point, there was a link to waist:hip ratio, with a change of 0.16 for every 5 dB increase in noise exposure to road, this is specifically for men.

In addition, when people were exposed to more noise pollution at the same time, they had higher possibility to get central obesity.

However, socioeconomic factors, and lifestyle do not affect the findings, age is a critical factor. Those who are below the age of 60 are found the connection between central obesity and road traffic noise.

TIPS for preventing from traffic noise:

Barrier Wall: Construct a barrier wall between your home and the source of the traffic noise.

Buildings: consider putting up buildings to block the traffic noise place a garage, a storage shed.

Water feature: water features do not reduce traffic noise, but they provide a more pleasant background sound, helping to mask it.

Hedges: hedges are not dense enough to combat loud road noise on their own.

SOURCE for help: Road Noise Impact Control


What causes obesity?

What causes obesity?

According to, obesity and/or overweight are labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height.

So what exactly can contribute to obesity within people? Here is the quick guide about what factors that may be lead to obesity.

  1. Lifestyle

The way we live affects our body’s health and it can sometimes show through our weight, skin, eyes, hair, and more. If we tend to have little physical activities it will or may become a habit. Or it could be the choices of foods or our eating habit. It could cause a problem with our body because there is an unbalance between intake of calories and output of energy. So balance is the very key to keeping our body healthy so that our body doesn’t take in more calories than needed for our daily activities.

  1. Genes

Genetics can be a reason why some people have more difficult time maintaining their weight or was born and struggled with being over-weighted. Having a family history in obesity can be concern and often times, it could lead to other health related problems; therefore, one should consult with their doctor for any weight concerns and questions.

  1. Outside factors

Sometimes, there are things that we take in or do that may affect our body. For example, a taking a type of drug or medicine could increase or decrease your weight. If you are on a form of birth control or using a drug for something, it is required to consult with your doctor because no one knows entirely how it may affect your body.

  1. Environment

Depending on where we live, our surrounding environment is one of the main factors that affects our physical activities. For example, one person may live in a neighborhood that does not have proper walking conditions and no walking or bicycling trails nearby. It could be a possibly reason why they would avoid going outside or not being as motivated to be more active in their environment. So our environment does an impact on how we chose to be more active and interact with out surroundings.



New Blog Series


test3A ten-part series of articles on the health and wellbeing of the Asian American community in Minnesota. 

APA ComMNet project participants gather data from the community.

APA ComMNet project participants gather data from the community.

Based on the data collected from a two-year study conducted by Asian Media Access (AMA) and Asian Pacific American Community Network (APA ComMNet), the Bicultural Healthy Living Blog is publishing a series of articles examining the health of the eight largest Asian American communities in Minnesota – the Hmong, Asian Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Laotian and Cambodian American communities. Each article will focus on one Asian ethnic community to understand the environmental, behavioral and social factors affecting the overall health and wellbeing of its members

The series of articles will be published as scheduled:

For the latest article on the health of the AAPI Minnesotan community – Visit the series’ main page here.

Traditional vs. Modern Diets

Before McDonalds or KFC dotted the landscape of Singapore, a small island nation in Southeast Asia, its residents enjoyed a staple of rice, meat and vegetables cooked in their Chinese, Indian and Malay traditions [i].  These days however, Singaporeans enjoy a westernized way of life that includes eating at fast food restaurants two or three times a week[ii].

Another McDonalds in China.   Photo Credit: Asian Correspondent.

Another McDonalds in China.
Photo Credit: Asian Correspondent.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health decided to find out the health cost associated with this change in diet and collaborated with public health experts at National University of Singapore.  Over 60,000 Chinese Singaporeans were interviewed about their health and eating habits [ii].  What they found was not only surprising to many in the public health community but a real cause of concern for modernized Asian countries.

Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiac Deaths for Fast Food Lovers

Study participants who ate more than two times a week at fast food joints like Burger King or Quiznos were more likely to die of heart disease and develop Type-2 diabetes.  These results were evident after researchers controlled for other factors such as gender, educational level and weight.  Interestingly, Chinese Singaporeans who ate traditional Singaporean meals, like stir-fried vegetables or steamed dumplings, were not at risk for acquiring these diseases.

Popular Asian Dishes. Unknown source.

Popular Asian Dishes. Unknown source.

The results of this study along with other similar research findings convinced public health, medical and nutrition experts that good health is connected to maintaining cultural traditions, especially rituals that involve cooking food in simple unprocessed ways.

The Asian Diet Pyramid

Emphasizing traditional food staples such as rice, noodles, legumes, vegetables and fruits, along with some red meat, fish and poultry, the Asian Diet Pyramid was developed by Oldways Preservation Trust to encourage healthy eating in the Asian American community.    Oldways organization is guided by a simple premise that good health can be found through heritage [iii].

Oldways Heritage Pyramid developed by Oldways Preservation Trust,conjunction with the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health and Environment, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Oldways Heritage Pyramid developed by Oldways Preservation Trust,conjunction with the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health and Environment, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

A new generation of Asian Americans has heeded the call for returning to a more traditional diet used by their grandparents.  Young Asian Americans activists like Aileen Suzara, a Filipino American educator, environmental justice advocate and a natural chef, uses traditional Filipino food and recipes to understand and connect to her Filipino American culture and community (learn more about her here).

As more Asian countries modernize and look towards the U.S. as an example of western living, it has become evident that America’s obesity epidemic will also be exported along with the super-sized burgers, shakes and fries.  Asian Americans in the U.S. can look beyond this pattern of ordering food-to-go or eating meals outside the home and look within their own culture to find meaningful ways of achieving optimal health and wellbeing.

[i] Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,

[ii] Western-Style Fast Food Intake and Cardio-Metabolic Risk in an Eastern Country. Andrew O. Odegaard, Woon Puay Koh, Jian-Min Yuan, Myron D. Gross, and Mark A. Pereira.

[iii] Asian Diet Pyramid. Oldways Heritage Through Health.

Balancing a Bicultural Life: How it Can Improve Your Health

Young Asian American dancers during the Hmong  New Year Celebration

Young Asian American dancers during the Hmong New Year Celebration

We live in a country where over 300 languages are spoken at home and one can find a native from every corner of the world.    Built largely by immigrants, the United States is a melting pot, or a salad bowl perhaps, of varying cultures and traditions.  Leading a bicultural healthy life, therefore, is the ability of immigrants and refugees to bridge two cultures, the American mainstream culture and their culture of origin, into one that allows them to live healthfully and happily.

Right now, however, many in the immigrant and refugee community are unable to find this balance.  They are in the losing end of a battle to overcome serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  Although seen as a “model minority”, Asian Americans are struggling.  With high infectious disease rates of Hepatitis B, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, prevailing mental health disorders including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, and an increasing number of obese and overweight members in the community, Asian Americans are not immune to the social and environmental factors that has deteriorated the health of all Americans.

By encouraging a bicultural healthy lifestyle, we hope that Asian Americans can find a path that allow both their Asian and American culture to co-exist with the ability to use one or both cultural protective factors when needed.

An example of a bicultural healthy practice is encouraging Tai Chi for 30 minutes a day as opposed to walking or running on the treadmill or employing the traditional Asian staple of rice, boiled vegetables and fish as opposed to eating in a fast food restaurant. 

This blog will explore the various ways and strategies to improve the health of Asian Americans and the community as a whole by living a bicultural healthy lifestyle.

Looking forward to your comments!

Topic for the Next Blog Post: Introducing the Asian Food Pyramid