Diabetes among non-obese Filipino Americans: Findings from a large population-based study

Esme Fuller-Thomson, Adity Roy, Keith Tsz-Kit Chan, Karen M. Kobayashi


OBJECTIVES: Filipino Americans form the second-largest Asian American and Pacific Islanders subgroup. Growing evidence suggests that Filipino Americans have higher rates of diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. The key objectives of this study are 1) to determine the prevalence of diabetes in non-obese Filipino Americans compared to non-obese non-Hispanic whites, and 2) to identify risk factors for diabetes in non-obese Filipino men and women.

METHODS: Secondary analysis of population-based data from combined waves (2007, 2009 and 2011) of the adult California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). The study sample was restricted to non-obese Filipino Americans (n = 1629) and non-Hispanic whites (n = 72 072).

RESULTS: Non-obese Filipino Americans had more than twice the odds of diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites, even after correcting for several known risk factors (OR = 2.80, p < 0.001). For non-obese Filipino men, older age, poverty, cigarette smoking, and being overweight are associated with increased odds for diabetes, while older age was the only factor associated with diabetes among Filipina women.

DISCUSSION: Diabetes prevention approaches need to be targeted towards non-obese Filipino Americans, due to their high risk of diabetes.


Diabetes; Filipino Americans; non-obese; prevalence; risk factors; sex

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.108.5761