Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are at twice the risk of developing diabetes compared to the general population, yet there have not been national efforts to understand, prevent, and treat this problem within this diverse and rapidly growing population. They have a higher prevalence rate, develop diabetes at a different body weight, and have different physiological responses to drugs. In addition, lower socioeconomic status, levels of educational attainment, and English proficiency, coupled with a lack of access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care play significant roles in the health disparities experienced by many Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

After coordinating the 2011 Hawaii Diabetes Symposium, Diabetes in Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders: A Call to Action, participating partners joined together to form the AANHPI Diabetes Coalition and address the diabetes disparities that affect AANHPI populations and communities, as well as millions of Americans..

The intention was to take the findings and recommendations from the Hawaii Symposium to a national level. On May 18th in Arlington, Virginia, NCAPIP and AANHPI Diabetes Coalition partners reconvened along with federal leaders in public health. New data on diabetes and associated diseases and conditions were shared, and a plan of action was formed. The action plan was based on three items: Clinical management guidelines, definitive population data to guide future management, and community tailored interventions. Each of these three items has, in turn, three underlying strategic actions, leading to the plan being called the "3x3 Diabetes Action Steps".

State of the Sciences: Diabetes in Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders - Full Compendium

AANHPI Diabetes Coalition Member Resources:

Health in Focus


Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) patients should talk to their health care providers about diabetes and routine screening. Diabetes is a serious health concern, with Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations especially at risk. There is a startling 47% diabetes prevalence in American Samoans, 20% diabetes prevalence in Native Hawaiians, and 10% among Asian Americans, compared with 8% of the US general population.

Although Asian Americans have a lower body weight, they are twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to Caucasian Americans. Even a small amount of weight gain above Western standards greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes; the accepted standard for BMI is not, therefore, a good benchmark for people of Asian descent to measure risk for developing the disease.

During regular annual check-up, patients should ask for screenings for diabetes, which are critical to prevention, early detection, and better health outcomes.

Links on Diabetes: