Diabetes and Asian / Pacific Islander Ancestry
Researchers are continuing to study the link between Type 2 diabetes and
Asians and Pacific Islanders, yet there has not been a great deal of
information published about the link between Type 2 diabetes and Asians and
Pacific Islanders. However, studies have found that Native Hawaiians
are twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes
than Caucasians and that Japanese men are about 60% more likely to
develop diabetes than Caucasian men. Furthermore, diabetes is the fifth
leading cause of death amongst the Asian and Pacific Islander
Unlike many other populations, body fat
may not be the most direct cause of the onset of diabetes amongst this
population. When the body mass index of Asian and Pacific Islanders is
compared to the body mass index of Caucasians, studies indicate that
diabetes is still more prevalent amongst the Asians and Pacific
Islanders, which indicates that the diabetes is caused by more than
just body fat.
While the link to body fat may not be the only cause for diabetes in
this population, there remains a strong correlation between obesity and
Type 2 diabetes. Studies indicate that individuals within the Asian and
Pacific Islander group may be more likely to develop diabetes
complications based on body fat than any other group of people.
Moreover, according to the organization Diabetes Care,
Asian Americans may have an increased risk for diabetes because of a
greater propensity for intra-abdominal fat deposition or impaired Beta
cell function in the pancreas.
Researchers believe that many Asians and Pacific Islanders have what
the researchers refer to as a ‘Thrifty Gene’. The gene once allowed
members of this population to survive when food was hard to come by
helping them use food energy more efficiently than other races. This
gene may still affect some Asian and Pacific Islanders who have
difficulty controlling their weight. Unfortunately this gene does not know that today many people have access to food 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. This condition also appears to be linked to high blood pressure.
Education is the best treatment when it comes for caring for diabetes in any population. It is best to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This means eating low calorie foods, low glycemic load foods, low saturated fat and relatively high fiber foods. Also, practice regular physical activity and take needed medication. Always consult with your doctor to receive treatment plans that are best for you.