The Burden of Diabetes on the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Community

Whitehouse: November 20, 2013

As a physician for more than 30 years, I have seen the tremendous burden that diabetes places on patients and their loved ones. As November marks National Diabetes Month, let us recommit to educating ourselves and our communities about how to prevent, manage, and treat diabetes.

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans, but the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community is at particular risk. In fact, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are more than three times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, compared to non-Hispanic whites. This is due to higher rates of risk factors such as being overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Within the U.S. Pacific Islands themselves, the prevalence of overweight and obesity exceeds 90 percent and diabetes approaches 50 percent in some areas. Read More