Asian Indians in U.S. at High Diabetes Risk Due to Adopted Lifestyle Habits: Study
Asian Indian immigrants in the United States are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a new study shows.
Asian Indian immigrants in the United States are at increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a new study says. Adoption of American lifestyle is a major factor in the development of these disorders among the community, according to the study presented on June 25 at the American Diabetes Association’s 78th Scientific Sessions at Orlando.
“Acculturation levels influence lifestyle behaviors, and in turn, increase the risks for developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among Asian Indians in the United States, yet a gap exists in thoroughly understanding the risk factors and the need for screenings and lifestyle modifications to effectively lower those risks,” Nitha Mathew Joseph, assistant professor at the Cizik School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and the lead author of the study, said in a statement.
The study, titled “Mediating Role of Acculturation and Lifestyle Behaviors on Cardiometabolic Risks among Asian Indians in the United States,” examined the role played by lifestyle, specifically physical activity and dietary behavior, in the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease among the respondents. Adoption of American lifestyle may specifically affect HbA1c levels and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol levels in this group, the research found.
It was conducted through a secondary data analysis of a previous landmark study (Misra, 2009) that collected data from a large national sample of 1,038 randomly selected Asian Indian adults from seven U.S. cities to measure the prevalence of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. The average age of the adults studied was 48.50 years.
The data on cardiometabolic risk factors was collected using HbA1c levels, fasting blood glucose levels, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and lipid profiles (HDL, LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides).
The study found that Asian Indians, who currently comprise the second-largest and fastest-growing Asian American group in the United States, are often prone to developing these disorders due to unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise.
“In India they may be eating a high carbohydrate and high sugar-containing diet but they may not be using their cars that much,” Joseph was quoted as saying by Houston Public Media. “They rely on the public transportation so they have to walk.”
Joseph added that the demanding nature of jobs held by many Indian immigrants may be keeping them away from the gym. “They are highly educated and they know that they are at risk,” Joseph added, according to the report. “But they are not taking that much into consideration until they really get the disease condition and the complications associated with that.”
The study further shows the need for development of culturally-tailored programs of diet and physical activity for various communities.
“Designing culturally tailored dietary education and physical activity interventions for this high-risk ethnic group may promote positive lifestyle changes that have the potential to reduce and/or prevent cardiometabolic risks among U.S. Asian Indians,” Joseph added.
The researchers said that further research is needed to study the mechanisms by which acculturation affects other cardiometabolic risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, psychosocial factors and abdominal obesity.
“Ultimately, better understanding and prevention strategies will reduce the health and economic burden associated with these chronic conditions among Asian Indians,” Joseph said.