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Diabetics & Ethnic Minorities: Going Beyond Black & White

Diabetics & Ethnic Minorities: Going Beyond Black & White

According to 2010 United States Census data, the number of Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) in the country has risen 43% since 2000. The three largest API subgroups included people of Chinese, South Asian, or Filipino ancestry. A recent report from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey aggregated API subgroups and found substantive differences in diabetes prevalence. “Unfortunately, there is still a paucity of published data on diabetes in API subgroups in the U.S.,” says Maria Rosario Araneta, PhD. “APIs have been a population group that has largely been neglected in diabetes research.” New Insights on Ethnic Differences in Diabetes In 2013, researchers in the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE) had an analysis published in Diabetes Care that estimated racial and ethnic differences in the prevalence and incidence of the disease. The DISTANCE study involved a large, multi-ethnic cohort of patients receiving care in an integrated health delivery system. It included more than 2 million adult members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California. According to findings, there was considerable variation among the seven largest API subgroups. Pacific Islanders, South Asians, and Filipinos had the highest prevalence (18.3%, 15.9%, and 16.1%, respectively) of diabetes. These groups also had the highest incidence (19.9, 17.2, and 14.7 cases per 1,000 person-years, respectively) of diabetes among all racial and ethnic groups, including minorities who are traditionally considered high risk, such as African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans (Figure). “Findings from this study are consistent with previous research, but there was substantial variation across the API subgroups,” adds Dr. Araneta. The Role of BMI at Diabetes Diagnosis Another key finding from the DISTANCE study...
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