Elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome among Asians and south Asians: results from the 2004 New York City HANES

Ethn Dis. Summer 2010;20(3):225-30.


Objective: Although numerous studies have identified an elevated risk of diabetes or impaired fasting glucose among Asians, there are limited data examining variability in risk among Asian subpopulations. We estimated prevalence of diabetes (DM), metabolic syndrome (MS) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG), by race/ethnicity and by Asian subgroup.

Design, settings and participants: This study was conducted using the fasting subsample of the 2004 New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC HANES; n = 1,324), a local version of the NHANES. Using country of origin information, we constructed South Asian and other Asian categories.

Main outcome measures: DM, MS and IFG.

Results: Age-standardized prevalence estimates of DM, MS and IFG were 10.8%, 13.3% and 21.4% among Whites, 16.1%, 12.0% and 32.4% among all Asians, and 35.4%, 17.7% and 15.9% among foreign-born South Asians, respectively. After adjusting for potential confounders, Asians had significantly higher odds of prevalent IFG (Adjusted odds ratio [AOR]:2.64; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.60-4.38) and MS (AOR:2.09; 95%CI: 1.19-3.68), compared to Whites. South Asians were more likely to have DM (AOR:4.88; 95%CI: 1.52-15.66) and MS (AOR:5.59; 95%CI: 1.69-18.50) compared to Whites, while other Asians were at increased prevalence of IFG (AOR:2.89; 95%CI: 1.65-5.07).

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the observed White/Asian disparity in DM risk may be primarily attributable to elevated risk among South Asians.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / ethnology*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose