Preliminary Results from the DFW Viet-American Health Pilot Study




Nguyen, Ngoc
Vu, Christine
Li, Wenjun
Zhang, Yuqing
Spence, Emily E.
Wagner, Russell
Pham, Alena
Tran, Thanh
Franklin, Patricia
Nguyen, Uyen-Sa


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Arthritis is a chronic condition that can cause pain, physical disability, and reduced quality of life (QOL). The prevalence, severity, symptoms, and management of osteoarthritis (OA) are known to differ by race and ethnicity. Studies on racial differences focused mostly on Black or Hispanic populations with little attention on Asian Americans, such as socioeconomically marginalized, medically under-served, and hard-to-reach Vietnamese-Americans (VietAmericans). This pilot study investigated the occurrence, symptoms, knowledge, and management of arthritis among Viet-Americans.


From 7/1/22-8/31/22 and with help from community leaders of faith-based community organizations, we recruited people of Vietnamese descent of age ≥ 45 years and living in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex.. We translated and adapted a linguistically and culturally appropriate questionnaire from English to Vietnamese using the Translation, Review, Adjudication, Pretesting, and Documentation(TRAPD) Model. Participants completed the survey which asked about their demographics, height, weight, chronic conditions, the 12-item Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Survey (KOOS), the Veterans RAND 12-item Health Survey (VR12), and awareness of knee osteoarthritis (OA). We then calculated the body mass index and summary scores for KOOS pain, function, and QOL.


Of 272 participants who completed the questionnaire (82% enrollment rate), 53% were women and 54% were ≥ 65 years old. The average stay in the US was 30 years (±12.8). The results indicated a low prevalence of overweight (21%) and obesity (6%). Knee OA occurred in 20% of men and 25% of women. Of note, 13% of men and 22% of women said they have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Only 41% of participants knew that an optimal weight could prevent knee OA. About a third of men and women reported knee pain (KOOS QOL pain score <70). Additionally, 25% of men, 35% of women, and 36% of those ≥65 years reported experiencing pain weekly, daily, or constantly. Furthermore, 40% of men, 53% of women, and 56% of those ≥65 years reported having fair or poor general health. Compared to a year ago, 50% of men and women rated their physical health as slightly or much worse. Although 95% of patients had medical insurance, most of the participants (84%) used alternative pain management such as massages, herbal medicines, and acupressure.


Participants reported a high prevalence of both OA and RA despite a low prevalence of overweight or obesity. Many people were unaware of risk factors related to OA and how weight management is crucial in the prevention of this disease. The results may be limited by the participants’ knowledge of medical conditions such as OA and RA. The next phase of the study will investigate and examine the reliability and validity of the translated instruments, the accuracy of self-reported OA and RA, and factors associated with poor health, including arthritis-related pain.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - School of Public Health, 2023 Community Engaged Research Award