New York City has just released preliminary results of a health study that shows that more than one in eight adult New Yorkers have diabetes, while twice as many have abnormally high blood sugar that could be a sign of conditions leading to diabetes. Moreover, of the city’s diabetes sufferers, at least one-third do not know that they have the disease, while many of those who know they have it are not managing to treat it properly. Here’s the NYC health commissioner quoted in the New York Times today:
Â“This confirms that we as a society are doing a rotten job both preventing and controlling diabetes,Â” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city health commissioner. Â“We can do a much better job helping people with diabetes get their condition under better control. The fact that there are over 100,000 New Yorkers with seriously out-of-control diabetes, and over 200,000 who donÂ’t even know they have diabetes, is a real indictment of our health care system.Â”
As disturbing as the overall figures are, he said, they were not unexpected. They resemble estimates made by public health officials, who expected that the disease would be more common in New York City than nationally; diabetes is less prevalent among whites than among most other groups, and New York is a mostly nonwhite city.
Which brings us to the Desi Angle (TM), and it’s a deadly serious one:
But Dr. Frieden said he was startled by some of the specific findings, including the very high numbers among Asian-Americans, especially those from South Asia. The study indicates that more than half of the New Yorkers whose families are from the Indian subcontinent have either diabetes or prediabetes.
Asians have the highest rates in the city, 16 percent diabetic and 32 percent prediabetic. The cityÂ’s report does not differentiate Asians by region, but officials said that the data in their study and others show that East Asians have below-average rates of diabetes, while South Asians have by far the highest of any large group.
Diabetes afflicts about 14 percent of the cityÂ’s non-Hispanic black population, 12 percent of Hispanics and 11 percent of whites.
If I can get a hold of more details I’ll update this post accordingly. Tomorrow the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC (93.9 FM in New York, and live and archived online) will be discussing this topic including the specific case of the South Asian community. Continue reading