Diabetes Prevalence In California Increases Among Ethnic Groups

Armen Hareyan's picture

Diabetes prevalence in California has increased among American Indians,Hispanics and Asian-Americans but remained stagnate among blacks,according to a study released on Wednesday by the University ofCalifornia-Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research, the Los Angeles Times reports.


The study -- led by Allison Diamant, an associate professor at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine -- examined diabetes rates using data from the California Health Interview Survey,which is conducted every two years in English, Spanish, Mandarin,Cantonese, Vietnamese and Korean with 43,000 adults from each county inthe state. Researchers found that among Hispanics of Mexican descent,diabetes prevalence increased from 7.2% in 2001 to 8.2% in 2005. Inaddition, diabetes prevalence among those of Central-American descentincreased from 5.2% in 2001 to 8.7% during the same period.

Diabetesprevalence among Asian-Americans increased from 5% to 6.5% between 2001and 2005, with Japanese-Americans having the highest rate at 10.2%,followed by Filipinos at 8.6%; Koreans, 7.4%; Vietnamese, 7%; andChinese-Americans, 4.4%. Prevalence among whites increased from 5.6% ofthe population in 2001 to 6% in 2005. Diabetes prevalence among blacksremained at 10.1%, according to the study. The stable rate for blacks,who already have a high prevalence for the disease, could mean thatawareness campaigns targeting the group have been effective or thatmany are not being diagnosed, Diamant said.

Overall, thenumber of diabetes cases statewide increased from 1.5 million in 2001to 1.8 million in 2005. Seven percent of California adults werediagnosed with diabetes in 2005, the study found, though experts saythe actual numbers are higher because type 2 diabetes can goundiagnosed for years. New habits adopted by recent immigrants and thelimited availability of nutritious food and safe places to exercise inpoorer neighborhoods could be causes for the increases, according tothe Times. "Living in the U.S. is not necessarily good for your health, especially if you're low-income," Diamant said (Los Angeles Times, 8/23).

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