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Chinese-American and Korean-American women at highest risk for diabetes in pregnancy
Date:12/11/2009

December 11 2009 (Portland, Ore.) More than 10 percent of women of Chinese and Korean heritage may be at risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study of 16,000 women in Hawaii that appears in the December issue of the Ethnicity and Disease journal. The study also found that Korean-American and Chinese-American women's gestational diabetes risk is one-third higher than averageand more than double that of Caucasian and African-American women.

Funded by the American Diabetes Association, the study found that Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, and Samoans are also at higher-than-average riskwhile Caucasian, Native-American, and African-American women have a lower-than-average risk.

Untreated gestational diabetes mellitus can lead to serious pregnancy and birthing complications, including early delivery and C-sections. It can also increase the child's risk of developing obesity later in life.

While previous studies have shown that GDM is more prevalent among Asian women and Pacific Islanders, this is the first study to separate those ethnic groups into sub-categories to find out who is at higher risk. Researchers chose Hawaii for the study because it has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world.

Researchers divided Asians into five ethnic sub-groups and found some striking differences: Korean and Chinese women have the greatest risk of developing GDM. Filipinos are next, but Japanese and Vietnamese women have the same risk as the rest of the population. Among three groups of Pacific Islanders, Samoans and other Pacific Islanders (including women from Fiji and Tahiti) have a higher-than-average risk, while women classified as Native Hawaiians are at average risk.* Caucasian, Native-American, and African-American women have the lowest risk for developing GDM.

"This study has important implications for diagnosis and treatment of gestati
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Contact: Danielle Cass
danielle.x.cass@kp.org
510-267-5354
Kaiser Permanente
Source:Eurekalert

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