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Ethnic Variation of Diabetes Prevalence Studied

Several ethnic groups more likely to have diabetes than Caucasians

FRIDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- A number of racial and ethnic groups showed a higher diabetes prevalence compared with Caucasians, even among those who were not overweight or obese, according to research published in a 2009 Ethnicity & Disease.

Gertraud Maskarinec, M.D., of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and colleagues analyzed data from 187,439 subjects of Caucasian, Japanese, Latino, African American, and Native Hawaiian descent in Hawaii and California. Participants filled out a questionnaire in which they self-reported their diabetes status and other health-related factors.

Overall, the prevalence of diabetes was 11.6 percent, the researchers report. Age-adjusted prevalence was 16.1 percent in Native Hawaiians, 15.8 percent in Latinos, 15 percent in African Americans, 10.2 percent in Japanese, and 6.3 percent in Caucasians, the investigators found. The higher prevalence in other ethnic groups compared to Caucasians was seen across all categories of body mass index.

"The most noteworthy finding is the elevated diabetes prevalence of similar magnitude across the four non- Caucasian groups. When stratified by body mass index, ethnic differences in diabetes prevalence were observed even among normal-weight and underweight participants," the authors write. "Current strategies related to diabetes diagnosis and prevention may require modifications in order to consider the importance of sex and ethnicity related to diabetes risk."

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