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Keywords:

  • Chinese;
  • ethnic group;
  • Hispanic/Latino;
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • risk

Diabet. Med. 28, 658–667 (2011)

Abstract

Aims  The burden of diabetes is considerable for racial and ethnic minority populations in many places in the USA and worldwide, often disproportionately affecting immigrant communities. This paper reports findings from a community-based participatory research study that described diabetes risk and awareness, assessed the association between perceived and actual risk (high, two or more diabetes risk factors; low, fewer than two risk factors) and identified factors associated with disease risk among Chinese and Hispanic/Latino immigrant populations in Portland, OR, USA.

Methods  Cross-sectional, self-reported data were collected from a purposive sample of 324 Chinese (n = 159) and Hispanic/Latino (n = 165) adults, aged 18–86 years [mean (SD) age, 45.2(17.9) years; 50.7% women). Analyses described differences in variable distributions. Logistic regression estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals in pooled and ethnic group-specific samples.

Results  Approximately 43% of participants were at high risk for diabetes, regardless of ethnicity or age. Of those unaware of their risk, or who perceived themselves not to be at risk, 25–53% had two or more risk factors (high risk); these patterns varied by ethnicity. The proportion of participants who reported two or more risk factors and were unaware of their risk status (31.8% Hispanic/Latino; 17% Chinese) or self-identified as not at risk (12.5% Hispanic/Latino; 13.0% Chinese) was substantial. Factors associated with diabetes risk also varied by ethnicity.

Conclusions  This study assessed the degree and determinants of diabetes risk and awareness among local Hispanic/Latino and Chinese communities and identified significant variation between groups. The results are important because they highlight substantial diabetes risk among persons who misestimate or are unaware of their risk status, regardless of ethnicity, and, in the USA, the Chinese immigrant population commonly is not considered a high-risk group for Type 2 diabetes.