American Association of Clinical Endocrinoligist's (AACE) 23rd Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress:

Largest US Study of Hispanic/Latino Populations Reveals Valuable Data about Pre-diabetes and Diabetes

Larissa Avilés-Santa, MD, MPH, FACP, FACE, a Medical Officer with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences presented diabetes-related results of a comprehensive multicenter community-based study of Hispanic and Latino populations in the United States (US). Dr. Avilés-Santa is an expert on the study and prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Her lecture drew attention to the incidence of prediabetes and diabetes among the Hispanic and Latino communities.

About the Study
The Hispanic/Latino Community Health Study was conducted between 2008 and 2011. It evaluated cultural modification; its prevalence and development of diabetes and other diseases (eg, cardiovascular disease). More than 16,000 Hispanic/Latino adults were recruited to participate in study centers located in the Bronx (New York), Chicago (Illinois), Miami (Florida), and San Diego (California). Participants identified themselves as being Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or South American.

The following percentages are of importance because the longer a participant has lived in the US, the greater the incidence for adopting American eating habits.

  • 79% not born in the US
  • 27% have lived in the US ˂10 years
  • 25% have lived in the US between 10 to 19 years
  • 48% have lived in the US ≥20 years

All study participants underwent extensive baseline clinical examinations that included evaluation of potential risk factors.

Prediabetes  Data

  • Prediabetes was lowest in the 18-44 age group and highest in the 45-64 age group.
  • Approximately, 1 in 3 participants in each group have prediabetes.
  • Nearly 1 out of 2 participants (men and women in the 64-75 age group) have diabetes.
  • The number of men and women with prediabetes or diabetes was similar in each age group.

Prediabetes and Diabetes Data

  • The number of participants with prediabetes or diabetes increased with weight gain.
  • Six out of 10 men and women aged 40-49 either have prediabetes or diabetes.

Diabetes, Abdominal Obesity and BMI Data

  • One out of 3 participants with diabetes did not know they have the disease.
  • The percentage of participants with diabetes was lowest among South Americans.
  • South Americans have the lowest prevalence of abdominal obesity; higher prevalence of low HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and high triglycerides.
  • Women have a higher prevalence of abdominal obesity than men. Low HDL is highly prevalent.
  • Prediabetes has a direct relationship to BMI and the number of years living in the US.
  • Diabetes is directly related to BMI.
  • The overall prevalence of diabetes is 16.9%. There is no statistical difference between men and women.
  • Dominicans, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans had the highest prevalence of diabetes.

Dr. Avilés-Santa explained that although the study provided a tremendous amount of insightful information—which is still being analyzed—study results raise many questions. These questions include how to apply what we know about diabetes awareness, prevention, and treatment. Cultural, religious, political, and many other considerations will play an important role in developing effective plan to help the Hispanic and Latino populations prevent diabetes and improve overall health.



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