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Engaging the ASEAN diaspora: Type 2 diabetes prevalence, pathophysiology, and unique risk factors among Filipino migrants in the United States.


Maria Rosario Araneta

Related Institution

Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine - University of California

Publication Information

Publication Type
Publication Sub Type
Feature Article
Journal of the ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies
Publication Date
June-November 2019


Type 2 diabetes prevalence is rising rapidly in Southeast Asia (SEA) where urbanization and adoption of 'western' behavioral lifestyles are attributed as predominant risk factors. The Southeast Asian diaspora to the United States has resulted in a sizable portion of migrant and US born SEAs, with approximately 4 million Filipino Americans, 2 million Vietnamese-Americans, Cambodians (330,000), and Thai (300,000) as the most populous. Their longer exposure to a western lifestyle and participation in clinical studies with other racial/ethnic groups, provide opportunities to evaluate etiologic factors which might inform trends and intervention opportunities among residents of Southeast Asia.

Epidemiologic studies in the US have identified higher T2D prevalence among Filipinos (16.1%) compared to groups perceived to be at highest risk for T2D, namely Latinos (14.0%), Black (13.7%), and Native Americans (13.4%), while SEAs (including Burmese, Cambodian, Indonesian, Laotian, Malaysian, and Thai, 10.5%) and Vietnamese (9.9%) had higher T2D risk compared to Whites (7.7%), despite their absence of general obesity. Asian-Americans, including SEAs, East and South Asians, collectively have higher rates of undiagnosed T2D compared to other racial/ethnic groups in the US. Almost half (44%) of Filipinos with newly diagnosed T2D have isolated post-challenge hyperglycemia and will remain undiagnosed if current screening practices remain limited to measures of glycosylated hemoglobin and fasting plasma glucose.

The University of California San Diego Filipino Health Study found excess visceral adipose tissue accumulation, low ratio of muscle to total abdominal mass area, low adiponectin concentration, multiparity (≥6 live births), and sleep insufficiency (


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Physical Location

LocationLocation CodeAvailable FormatAvailability
Journal of the ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies Fulltext External Link (View)
Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Fulltext pdf (Request Document)

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