Gestational diabetes mellitus: all Asians are not alike

Prev Med. Aug-Sep 2009;49(2-3):265-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.07.001. Epub 2009 Jul 9.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) prevalence estimates for subgroups of US Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women by using data from 2005 and 2006 birth certificates.

Methods: Using 2005-2006 natality files from states that implemented the revised 2003 US birth certificate, which differentiates between GDM and preexisting diabetes (2005: 12 states; 2006: 19 states), we calculated age-adjusted GDM prevalence estimates for API mothers who delivered singleton infants.

Results: Among 3,108,877 births, US APIs had a substantially higher age-adjusted prevalence of GDM (6.3%) than whites (3.8%), blacks (3.5%), or Hispanics (3.6%). Among API subgroups, age-adjusted GDM prevalence varied significantly, from 3.7% among women of Japanese descent to 8.6% among women of Asian Indian descent. Foreign-born APIs had significantly higher GDM rates than US-born APIs except among women of Japanese and Korean ancestry.

Conclusion: Overall, US API women have the highest risk for GDM among all US racial/ethnic groups. However, APIs are a heterogeneous group by genetic background, culture, and diet and other lifestyle behaviors. Our findings imply that, whenever possible, API subgroups should be evaluated separately in health research.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult