Asian, Pacific Islanders Have High Rates of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Study Finds
Asian and Pacific Islander children living in the U.S. have higher rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes than children living in Asian countries, according to a 10-year study of the disease in children, the Honolulu Advertiser reports. The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth multicenter study is the largest ever surveillance of youth with diabetes, according to the Advertiser. Beatriz Rodriguez, a professor at the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine, is lead investigator of the Hawaii site SEARCH study. More than half of the Asian and Pacific Islander children included in the nationwide study are from Hawaii, according to Rodriguez.
Rodriguez found that rates of type 1 diabetes among Asian and Pacific Islanders ages 13 and younger who live in the U.S. are at least three times higher than the rates among children living in Japan, Korea, Shanghai, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.
Type 2 diabetes also was significantly higher in the U.S. group, according to the study. For example, 12.1 children per 100,000 in the U.S. had the disease, compared with 2.6 children per 100,000 in Japan and 6.5 per 100,000 in Taiwan. Approximately one in 8,200 Asian and Pacific Islander U.S. youth between ages 10 and 19 is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes annually, according to the study.
Rodriguez said that researchers were expecting the higher rates of type 2 diabetes among Asian and Pacific Islander children living in the U.S. because the disease is closely linked with obesity, physical inactivity and race, but the higher type 1 finding was a surprise. Causes of type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, are less clear, but Rodriguez said a number of genetic and nongenetic factors, such as infections at birth, toxins and early cessation of breastfeeding, are likely contributors.
The findings suggest that public health efforts targeting Asian and Pacific Islander children and other minorities, should stress the importance of obesity and prevention of diabetes, according to Rodriguez (Wilson, Honolulu Advertiser, 2/28).
An abstract of the study is available online. Reports on findings for other racial and ethnic groups also are available in the March issue of Diabetes Care online.