Minorities More Likely to Have Diabetes at Lower Weights

September 20th 2019

Members of racial and ethnic minority groups were more likely to have diabetes or prediabetes at lower weights, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study.

Members of racial and ethnic minority groups were more likely to have diabetes or prediabetes at lower weights, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study.

The analysis included more than 4.9 million people of diverse backgrounds and geographies, and were part of the nationwide Patient Outcomes Research to Advance Learning network. Supported by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the PORTAL study group features data on more than 12 million patients of Kaiser Permanente, along with HealthPartners in Minnesota and Denver Health.

The findings showed that normal-weight Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders were three times more likely to have diabetes than normal-weight white people. Diabetes prevalence at normal BMI was 18% for Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, compared to just 5% for whites. Prevalence was also high for blacks (13.5%), Hispanics (12.9%), Asians (10.1%), and American Indians/Alaskan Natives (9.6%).

Asians, Hispanics, and Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders had a higher prevalence of prediabetes at lower BMI than other groups, but this was the only significant data to report. Results also differed by gender.

Other factors, like neighborhood-level measures of income, education, and access to primary care, were considered, but were found to not be as significant in the racial/ethnic differences in prevalence of diabetes beyond BMI.

With this new information, primary care clinicians could start to change how they screen racial and minority patients for diabetes and prediabetes. Senior Research Scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research Assiamira Ferrara, MD, PhD, said that, “This study suggests that along with screening patients who are overweight and obese, minorities should probably be screened even if they have a normal BMI, particularly as they get older.”

Reference

Minorities more likely to have diabetes at lower weights [news release]. Oakland, CA: PR Newswire; September 19, 2019. https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/minorities-more-likely-to-have-diabetes-at-lower-weights-300920618.html. Accessed September 19, 2019.

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