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Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are at twice the risk of developing diabetes compared to the general population, yet there have not been national efforts to understand, prevent, and treat this problem within this diverse and rapidly growing population. They have a higher prevalence rate, develop diabetes at a different body weight, and have different physiological responses to drugs. In addition, lower socioeconomic status, levels of educational attainment, and English proficiency, coupled with a lack of access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care play significant roles in the health disparities experienced by many Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
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After coordinating the 2011 Hawaii Diabetes Symposium, Diabetes in Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders: A Call to Action, participating partners joined together to form the AANHPI Diabetes Coalition and address the diabetes disparities that affect AANHPI populations and communities, as well as millions of Americans.

The intention was to take the findings and recommendations from the Hawaii Symposium to a national level. On May 18th in Arlington, Virginia, NCAPIP and AANHPI Diabetes Coalition partners reconvened along with federal leaders in public health. New data on diabetes and associated diseases and conditions were shared, and a plan of action was formed. The action plan was based on three items: Clinical management guidelines, definitive population data to guide future management, and community tailored interventions. Each of these three items has, in turn, three underlying strategic actions, leading to the plan being called the "3x3 Diabetes Action Steps".

Mission Statement

The mission of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Diabetes Coalition (AANHPI-DC) is to advance the study and treatment of diabetes in AANHPI populations and communities, in order to effectively prevent and treat this serious disease. The Diabetes Coalition will:

  • Bring together the stakeholders, including physicians and other health care providers, health educators, researchers, community-based organizations, patient and consumer organizations, health departments, and the pharmaceutical industry
  • Increase awareness about the diabetes disparity in AANHPI populations and communities
  • Support research on appropriate clinical and community interventions to effectively prevent and treat diabetes in AANHPI populations and communities
  • Advocate for more resources from government and the private sector to focus on diabetes in AANHPI populations and communities.

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The “Screen at 23” campaign seeks to reveal the undiagnosed cases of diabetes (more than half, according to the NIH) among Asian Americans. By screening Asian American patients using a body mass index of 23 as per the 2015 ADA recommended guideline, thousands of cases of diabetes [approx 215,000] and even more of pre-diabetes [approx 430,000] will be unmasked.

  • An Asian American patient who appears to be at a healthy weight, and is relatively thin, could actually be at risk for developing diabetes. Previously, having a body mass index below 25 would often preclude a patient from being screened - and that's an assumption this campaign seeks to debunk.
  • Testing for diabetes at a body mass index (BMI) of 23 is a recommendation of the American Diabetes Association and has been supported by a growing body of research done at the community level. Institutions in government and non-government sectors have begun to take notice,  but we need to continue to engage the providers and patients on the importance of screening at 23 so that guidelines are put into practice and policies change.
  • Having a body mass index of 23 doesn't mean that an Asian American is "fat", "overweight", or any kind of new definition for obesity. It is a marker to be aware of for both doctors and patients however; one to consider being tested for diabetes and to think about lifestyle changes like nutrition and exercise.
  • Sign up and Endorse the campaign as a supporting organization or individual.
  • Help push the campaign forward.
  • Download the Screen at 23 package and find out more about the issue, including diabetes screening information for doctors.

AANHPI Diabetes Coalition 2014 Report

From the "Asian BMI" issue and associated masking of the real risk Asian Americans have of developing diabetes, to the highest diabetes rates in the world occurring within Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations both within and outside the mainland United States, researchers and policy makers came together to move the mission of the AANHPI Diabetes Coalition forward: increasing awareness and advancing the study and treatment of diabetes among AANHPI populations. Download the report and presentations...
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