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Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):66-9.

Type 2 diabetes prevalence in Asian Americans: results of a national health survey.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98105-4608, USA.



Asians are thought to be at high risk for diabetes, yet there is little population-based information about diabetes in Asian Americans. The purpose of this study was to directly compare the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Asian Americans with other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. using data from the 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).


The BRFSS is a population-based telephone survey of the health status and health behaviors of Americans in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Subjects included 3,071 Asians, 12,561 blacks, 12,153 Hispanics, 2,299 Native Americans, 626 Pacific Islanders, and 129,116 non-Hispanic whites aged >/=30 years. Subjects who reported a physician-diagnosis of diabetes were considered to have type 2 diabetes unless they were diagnosed before age 30.


Compared with whites, odds ratios (95% CIs) for diabetes, adjusted for age and sex, were 1.0 (0.7-1.4) for Asians, 2.3 (2.1-2.6) for blacks, 2.0 (1.8-2.3) for Hispanics, 2.2 (1.6-2.9) for Native Americans, and 3.1 (1.4-6.8) for Pacific Islanders. Results adjusted for BMI, age, and sex were 1.6 (1.2-2.3) for Asians, 1.9 (1.7-2.2) for blacks, 1.9 (1.6-2.1) for Hispanics, 1.8 (1.3-2.5) for Native Americans, and 3.0 (1.4-6.7) for Pacific Islanders.


Similar proportions of Asian and non-Hispanic white Americans report having diabetes, but after accounting for the lower BMI of Asians, the adjusted prevalence of diabetes is 60% higher in Asian Americans.

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