Type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome in Japanese Americans

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2000 Oct;50 Suppl 2:S73-6. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8227(00)00182-0.


Japanese Americans have experienced a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes than in Japan. Research conducted in Seattle suggests that lifestyle factors associated with 'westernization' play a role in bringing out this susceptibility to diabetes. These lifestyle factors include consumption of a diet higher in saturated fat and reduced physical activity. A consequence of this is the development of central (visceral) adiposity, insulin resistance, and other features associated with this insulin resistance metabolic syndrome, such as dyslipidemia (high triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, and small and dense LDL particles), hypertension, and coronary heart disease. We have postulated that the superimposition of insulin resistance upon a genetic background of reduced beta-cell reserve results in hyperglycemia and diabetes among Japanese Americans. This article reviews evidence that support this view.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology