National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

The Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of MA is pleased to be a member of the Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Diabetes Coalition, and joins with other members of this coalition to raise awareness of the issue of the “diabetes disparity” amongst our AAPI (Asian American & Pacific Islander) communities.

Over half of all AAPIs with diabetes remain undiagnosed. The number of undiagnosed AAPIs with prediabetes is even higher. Of these, a significant portion of AAPIs at risk for diabetes or prediabetes appear to be at a “healthy weight”, and are not being tested.

The general rule for some time has been that if you have a body mass index (BMI) below 25, you are not at risk for diabetes. Research on AAPIs, however, proves different. The American Diabetes Association, National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control have all recently acknowledged that AAPIs should be screened for diabetes at a lower body mass index, and 23 is that number.

Lowering the BMI to screen at 23 is not a redefinition of “overweight” or “obesity”, it is a number to keep in mind to get checked by our doctors and live healthier.

“Compared to non-Hispanic white adults, the risk of diagnosed diabetes was 18% higher among Asian Americans. The risk between AAPI subgroups varies; for instance, the prevalence of diabetes was more than twice as high for Asian Indian adults compared with Chinese or Japanese adults. Also, the age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes in 2010 was 3 times greater among Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders compared with that among non-Hispanic whites.” (courtesy of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders)

Be sure to get screened and tested for diabetes if you are at risk, and be sure to consult with your physician, or health care professional, to ask whether this new criteria for screening applies to you.