PINE Study Sheds Light on Unique Needs of the US Chinese Aging Population

Kelly Davio

The US Chinese aging population has experienced a rapid growth in recent years. However, research about the social networks of older immigrant adults has been lacking. That scarcity of information has led to a lack of understanding that has limited the ability of US healthcare professionals and policy makers to provide the best strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of older Chinese adults.

In 2017, researchers reported on the results of the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago (PINE study), a population-based epidemiological study of more than 3000 community-dwelling Chinese American adults aged 60 or above, in multiple journals. During the study period, participants were followed-up at intervals of 2 years in order to understand their current status and to observe changes over time that would allow researchers to better understand the unique health needs of this population.

In a paper published in Gerontology, researchers reported that:
Data reported elsewhere showed that patients who had the highest levels of social support from their networks had higher utilization of cancer screenings, fewer depressive symptoms, and better global cognitive function.

Further data from the study add complexity the picture of this population, demonstrating that:
In a statement, XinQi Dong, MD, MPH, the lead investigator of the PINE study, said, “People usually think of the US Chinese population as a ‘model minority,’ which hides the physical and psychological health challenges this population faces. With this data, we can find out the causes of certain health outcomes and figure out how to prevent disease and improve wellbeing through culturally appropriate interventions.”

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