Concurrent Resolutions to Consider Endorsing "Screen at 23" Campaign in Hawaii to Help Cases of Diabetes in Asian AmericansReveal Undiagnosed

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 21, 2016
Contact: Leslie Lam, Market Director
Phone: 808-947-5979, 808-393-7319

Honolulu, Hawaii – A concurrent resolution, if passed, will make Hawaii the first State in the United States to formally support the appropriate screen guidelines set forth by the American Diabetes Association (Association). The resolution will increase efforts across Hawaii's public and private health sectors to screen for type 2 diabetes in Asian Americans at a body mass index (BMI) of 23.

Currently, over half of all Asian Americans with diabetes remain undiagnosed and the number with undiagnosed prediabetes is even higher. Of these, a significant portion of Asian Americans at risk for prediabetes or diabetes appear to be a "healthy weight" and aren't being screened. The general rule for some time has been that if you have a body mass index below 25, you aren't at risk for diabetes.

However, research on Asian Americans, proves different. The Association, National Institute of Health, and Centers for Disease Control have all recently acknowledged that Asian Americans are at risk for, and need to be screened at a lower body mass index. And 23 is the number. "We want doctors and their patients to be aware of the increased risk for Asian Americans - the science shows we ARE different, and screening practices must appropriately reflect this," shared Dr. Hu Luong Tran, President & CEO of the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians.

In Hawaii, where 42 percent of the population is of Asian American decent, screening at 23 would reveal more than 10,000 additional cases of diabetes and more than 30,000 new cases of prediabetes and allow treatment to begin or make diabetes prevention possible.

"Having worked for many years advocating a lower BMI alert level for diabetes screening, I believe it is significant that the state with the highest proportion of Asians in its population can be the first to support a state-wide resolution that recognizes the importance of screening Asians for diabetes at BMI 23," said Dr. Wilfred Fujimoto, past president of the American Diabetes Association's Hawaii Community Leadership Board. Dr. Fujimoto, from Hawaii Island, and with the University of Washington played a key role in the study.

Dr. Edward A. Chow with the Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Diabetes Coalition said, "In October, San Francisco was the first county in the United States to adopt a resolution to increase awareness and screen Asian Americans for diabetes at a BMI of 23. We look forward to Hawaii being the first state to adopt a resolution to address this important public health issue for our Asian communities."

"As a physician, I can't judge someone by size, because it is critical to understand increased risks based on genetic traits and lifestyle. Evidence shows we must be mindful that Asian Americans are at a higher risk of having type 2 diabetes at a lower body mass index (BMI) of 23," said Dr. Dee-Ann Carpenter, Immediate Past President of the Hawaii Community Leadership Board, Internist, Department of Native Hawaiian Health and Past President and current Secretary of 'Ahahui o nā Kauka. "Health professionals and patients have to work together to increase awareness of this new cutpoint," said Carpenter.

To support the joint resolution, share this critical information with your health care provider and visit screenat23.org for more info. The Screen at 23 Campaign seeks to reveal the undiagnosed cases of diabetes among Asian Americans.

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 diabetes.org/hawaii.