Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Chinese Canadians May Have Higher Diabetes Risk That Previously Thought: Study

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Chinese Canadians May Have Higher Diabetes Risk That Previously Thought: Study

Article excerpt

Chinese Canadians' diabetes risk up: study


TORONTO - Canadians of Chinese descent may be at higher risk of developing diabetes than their historically low obesity rates would indicate, new research suggested Thursday.

A study from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences found that the rate of diabetes diagnoses soared sharply among Ontario's Chinese Canadian population over a 10-year period, while the increase in cases among their European counterparts was comparatively small. The findings were published Thursday in the journal Diabetes Care.

Study co-author Dr. Baiju Shah said the data came as a surprise, since Chinese Canadians have not historically been treated as a high risk group.

Canadians of South Asian, African or Aboriginal origin have widely been recognized as being vulnerable to diabetes, he said, adding the latest research suggests the Chinese population ought to be considered in the same light.

"I think we've shown now that the rate of new cases is going way, way up. So in a few years, the proportion of the Chinese population with diabetes is going to have caught up and exceeded that of Europeans," Shah said in a telephone interview.

Shah and a team of researchers gathered their data by focusing on Ontario residents who self-identified as either of European or Chinese descent in Statistics Canada surveys compiled in the mid 1990s.

Between 1996 and 2005, they went on to track the medical histories of more than 77,000 people and sought out newly diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Canadians of European descent reported 7.8 new cases per 1,000 people per year in 1996. That number had jumped by 24 per cent to 9.7 by the study's conclusion. The number of those reported as overweight or obese had climbed to 55 per cent from 50 over that time, the study found.

While the Chinese population registered a similar five point spike in obesity rates, the numbers were noticeably lower than they were among Europeans. …

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