A diabetic profile of Asian subgropus in the United States: A study using data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2012

Ruth Vijetha Arya, The University of Texas School of Public Health


With the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes increasing globally, understanding the heterogeneity among subpopulations of a racial group is important in understanding the epidemiology of disease. This study characterized the prevalence of diabetes, prediabetes, and associated factors in the Asian American population according to four Asian racial subgroups (Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, other Asian) and compared the subgroups to non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics using publicly available data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Prevalence was calculated for multiple comparisons of the outcomes of interest (diabetes and prediabetes) according to racial group. For each outcome of interest, logistic regression was used to assess the strength of the association between race and outcome. Further regression analyses were performed to determine strength of association between age at diabetes diagnosis, physical activity, and BMI classification differed according to acculturation. ^ Findings indicate significant differences among Asian groups when compared to whites, blacks, and Hispanics, as well as among the four Asian subgroups themselves in prevalence of self-reported diabetes. Overall, Asians as a collective group had lower diabetes prevalence than whites, blacks, and Hispanics. However, adjusting for age, sex, SES, BMI, health insurance coverage, physical activity, and acculturation, showed that Asians had twice the odds of reporting diabetes compared to whites. Blacks and Hispanics also had higher odds of diabetes compared to whites, but less than Asians. Prevalence among the four Asian groups was also significant with Filipinos having the highest reported proportion of borderline or diagnosed diabetes compared to Indians, Chinese, and other Asians. Evaluating three secondary outcomes according to acculturation score showed few significant differences for reported age at diabetes diagnosis and physical activity while more significant differences were detected in BMI classification. Prevalence of prediabetes was found to be lowest in Asians. While differences were observed between race groups for the prediabetes outcome, those findings were not found to be significant. ^ Asians have shown to have high prevalence of diabetes, and overall, results indicate that underlying variation exists within the aggregate Asian population. More studies are needed to further understand these differences and how that information can be used to facilitate development of health interventions targeting behaviors specific to certain groups to more effectively reduce prediabetes and diabetes, and diabetes-related complications.^

Subject Area

Asian American studies|Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Arya, Ruth Vijetha, "A diabetic profile of Asian subgropus in the United States: A study using data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2012" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1598354.