The American Diabetes Association Lowers BMI for Asian Americans and Type 2 Diabetes

For Immediate Release: January 2015
Contact: Leslie Lam
Office: 808-947-5979

Honolulu, Hawaii – More than 497,800 people in Hawaii live with prediabetes or diabetes; a chronic disease that if left untreated can cause serious complications.

During the holidays, the American Diabetes Association, the largest non-profit organization in the world dedicated to preventing and curing diabetes, reduced the Body Mass Index (BMI) threshold at which it recommends Asian Americans be screened for type 2 diabetes. In a position statement being published in the January issue of Diabetes Care, Asian Americans are encourage to get tested for type 2 diabetes when their BMI reaches 23 or higher; the general public at a BMI of 25 or higher. According to the 2010 Census, 57% of Hawaii's population reported being of Asian descent.

"After over three decades of conducting research into risk factors for type 2 diabetes among Japanese Americans and advocating that BMI standards to identify those at risk for diabetes need to be changed, I am pleased that we are able to come up with a BMI guideline for health care providers who have Asian American patients," said Dr. Wilfred Fujimoto, professor emeritus of internal medicine at University of Washington and Hawaii Advisory Board member.

The change in the American Diabetes Association's standards of care was suggested by the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Diabetes Coalition. The group noted that Asian Americans are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared to white Americans, regardless if Asian Americans have a lower rate of obesity. The recommendations do not lay out new definitions for Asian Americans' overweight or obesity standards.

Early detection and intervention with simple lifestyle changes such as weight loss and physical activity is key and can help delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes by up to 58%. The American Diabetes Association is fighting to Stop Diabetes here in Hawaii through community outreach, education, advocacy, and special events to support those with prediabetes and who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

The complete position statement can be found here:

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure, and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 808-947-5979, 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit