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Celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by Raising Awareness About Diabetes

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/01/14 -- During Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the American Diabetes Association (Association) is raising awareness about the seriousness of type 2 diabetes within these communities by connecting those living with, and at risk for, diabetes to important resources and educational materials needed to help curb the trajectory of this disease.

Across the U.S., nearly 26 million people are living with diabetes, and another 79 million have prediabetes, placing them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Asian Americans are 18 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes than their non-Hispanic white counterparts, with 8.4 percent of the Asian American population, age 20 and older, living with diagnosed diabetes. In addition to type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes disproportionately affects Asian American women -- they are a staggering 177 percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes than non-Hispanic white women. Gestational diabetes carries dangerous health consequences for both mother and baby, during and after pregnancy, including increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

"Diabetes affects the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities at an alarming rate," said Edward A. Chow, MD, Chair, Asian Pacific Islander Action Council, American Diabetes Association. "During this month, we want to ensure these populations know about their increased risk for diabetes and have the education, information and access to care they need to treat, manage and prevent diabetes."

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by losing just seven percent of body weight (such as 15 pounds, if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating. By understanding the risk, necessary steps can be taken to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

To celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and raise awareness about diabetes, the Association will be conducting activities across the country. Also, on May 2nd, Association staff and volunteers will participate in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Diabetes Coalition's 4th annual scientific conference in San Francisco. This year, the conference will aim to bring together leaders to discuss ways to improve diabetes treatment and management with the theme: "Deepening Knowledge - Effective Treatment and Management." To find out what activities are happening in your community, or to learn about the Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders program at the Association, visit www.diabetes.org/asianamericanmonth or call 1-888-DIABETES.

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 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org.

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