Issue 33 July 2011
3. Indian origins have the highest diabetes risk even among Asian-origins.

      A new study from New York City finds that immigrants from the Indian subcontinent have the highest rates of diabetes in the city -- a fact that may be masked by their being grouped with other Asians in assessments of community health risks.

      Using data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the authors found that foreign-born South Asians from Indian sub continent have the highest rate of diabetes of any ethnic group in New York. It is nearly double that of other foreign-born Asians.

      The differences between the city's ethnic groups in diabetes rates were greatest among people with a normal body mass index (BMI) -- a ratio of height to weight -- suggesting that standard BMI categories may be poor indicators of risk, at least for South Asians, the authors note in the journal Diabetes Care.

      The results of the study indicate that people of South Asian descent should be aware of these differences, and watch their weight especially carefully, said study author Leena Gupta of the city's health department.

      Among people with a BMI in the "normal" range (18.5 to 25 kilograms per square meter of height), the rate of diabetes in foreign-born South Asians was nearly five times as high as the rate in whites, and two and a half times as high as the rate in people from other parts of Asia.

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