Diabetes Prevalence in California Increases Among Several Ethnic Groups, Remain Stable for Blacks, Study Finds
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 of California-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 in the state. Researchers found that among Hispanics of Mexican descent, diabetes prevalence increased from 7.2% in 2001 to 8.2% in 2005. In addition, diabetes prevalence among those of Central-American descent increased from 5.2% in 2001 to 8.7% during the same period.
Diabetes prevalence among Asian-Americans increased from 5% to 6.5% between 2001 and 2005, with Japanese-Americans having the highest rate at 10.2%, followed by Filipinos at 8.6%; Koreans, 7.4%; Vietnamese, 7%; and Chinese-Americans, 4.4%. Prevalence among whites increased from 5.6% of the population in 2001 to 6% in 2005. Diabetes prevalence among blacks remained at 10.1%, according to the study. The stable rate for blacks, who already have a high prevalence for the disease, could mean that awareness campaigns targeting the group have been effective or that many are not being diagnosed, Diamant said.
Overall, the number of diabetes cases statewide increased from 1.5 million in 2001 to 1.8 million in 2005. Seven percent of California adults were diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, the study found, though experts say the actual numbers are higher because type 2 diabetes can go undiagnosed for years. New habits adopted by recent immigrants and the limited availability of nutritious food and safe places to exercise in poorer neighborhoods could be causes for the increases, according to the 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). The study is available online.