Diabetes among South Asian Americans

Facts about Diabetes in the South Asian Diaspora

  • In the U.S, South Asian immigrants are 7 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than the general population (Bhopal et al., 1999).
  • In NYC, Indian immigrants are at a greater risk of hospitalization for diabetes than other immigrants(Muennig et al., 2005).
  • According to a recent study conducted by CSAAH, approximately two-thirds (67%) of South Asian CHNRA respondents had ever been screened for diabetes, and 17% of those screened had been told by health professional that they had diabetes. This rate of diabetes is almost 3 times higher than the rate for Asian Americans living in NYC (6%).
  • In an analysis of 1.5 million New York City birth records registered between 1990 and 2001 South Asian women experienced the highest prevalence rate (11.1%) and the highest increase for gestational diabetes (95% increase since 1990) when compared to other groups (Thorpe et al., 2005).
  • According to the World Health Organization, in 2000 Bangladesh had 3,196,000 diabetics, which will increase to 11,140,000 by 2030.
  • A higher prevalence of diabetes was found in urban (8.1%) compared with rural populations (2.3%) in Bangladesh ( Hussain et al., 2005). However, studies also show that diabetes is on the rise even in rural populations in Bangladesh (Rahim et al., 2006).
  • Older age, obesity, higher income, family history of diabetes and reduced physical activity are significant risk factors for diabetes in Bangladesh (Sayeed et al., 2007).
  • Preliminary research conducted by CSAAH indicates that 28% of Bangladeshis in NYC have diabetes.
  • Although there is growing evidence that diabetes is a major issue in the general South Asian and Asian Indian community in the U.S., there are no published studies regarding diabetes in the US Bangladeshi community.