Chinese-American women & Korean-American women at highest risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy

PORTLAND, ORE., – More than 10 percent of women of Chinese and Korean heritage may be at risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study of 16,000 women in Hawaii that appears in the December issue of the Ethnicity and Disease journal. The study also found that Korean-American and Chinese-American women’s gestational diabetes risk is one-third higher than average – and more than double that of Caucasian and African-American women.

Funded by the American Diabetes Association, the study found that Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, and Samoans are also at higher-than-average risk – while Caucasian, Native-American, and African-American women have a lower-than-average risk.

 Untreated gestational diabetes mellitus, commonly known as GDM, can lead to serious pregnancy and birthing complications, including early delivery and C-sections. It can also increase the child’s risk of developing obesity later in life.

“This study underscores Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to identify differences in risk and clinical outcomes for different ethnic and racial groups,” said Winston F. Wong, MD, MS, medical director of Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit Disparities Improvement and Quality Initiatives.
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