Comparisons of Health Behaviors and Lifestyles among Middle-Aged Korean-Chinese Women and Chinese Women Residing in Korea and Yianbian in China

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Suk Jeong Lee, PhD
Nursing, Red Cross College of Nursing in Korea, Seoul, South Korea
ChaeWeon Chung, RN, PhD
College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

Learning Objective 1: know the circumstances that immigrant Korean-Chinese women lie.

Learning Objective 2: see the differences in health status among women by cultural and ethinic backgrounds.

Purpose: Upon the growing number of immigrants of Korean-Chinese women in Korea, it is becoming of interest to know how different ethnic and cultural backgrounds as well as living circumstances related to the women's health. This study aimed to compare the health behaviors and health promoting lifestyles among middle-aged Korean-Chinese women and Chinese women residing in Korea and Yianbian, China.

Methods: The descriptive study utilized a convenience sampling with women aged 40 thru 59 years old. Sixty-eight of the immigrant Korean-Chinese women(immigrants) in Seoul, and 151 Chinese women and 142 Korean-Chinese women in Yianbian(KCW-Y), China were recruited. Korean and Chinese versions of questionnaires containing Self-assessed Health, Health Promotion Lifestyle Profile II, female cancer screening, and demographics were provided after obtaining informed consent. Chi-square test, ANOVA, and ANCOVA were utilized.

Results: The immigrants were older, less educated, single, and manufacturing or service workers, while the KCW-Y showed significantly higher levels of socioeconomic status than others. Breast self-exam was more likely performed in the KCW-Y(40%), while rates of breast and cervical cancer screening tests were highest in the immigrants and lowest in the Chinese women, with a significant difference in cervical cancer screening rate(χ2=8.69, p=.013). While controlling the covariates of age, education, and employment, health promoting lifestyles were not different among the groups. However, the immigrants and the KCW-Y perceived their physical health status lower than the Chinese women(F=12.26 p<.001; F=4.15, p=.042). Psychological health status of the immigrants was also significantly lower than the Chinese women(F=14.85, p<.05).

Conclusion: Health professionals need to be aware of health status and underlying conditions of the immigrant Korean-Chinese women. Health care services and strategies need to be provided to improve healthy lifestyles and physical and psychological health through the communities they belong.