Lifestyle factors fuel high diabetes risk in African-American women

May 02, 2000

A nine-year study of more than 12,000 middle-aged Americans suggests that at least half of the extra risk for diabetes faced by African-American women is linked to relatively simple and modifiable lifestyle factors. The same was not true for African-American men, according to the study team led by Johns Hopkins investigators.

"We've known for a long time that compared to their white counterparts, middle-aged African-Americans have both higher blood pressure and a higher prevalence of Type 2, noninsulin-dependent diabetes and its complications," says Frederick L. Brancati, M.D., M.H.S., lead author of the study and associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Hopkins. "But this study suggests that poor diet, high blood pressure, body fat and lack of exercise are accountable for nearly half the risk in women."

Results of the government-funded epidemiological study, published in the May 3 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, show that African-American women are 2.4 times more likely to develop diabetes and African-American men are 1.5 times more likely to develop diabetes than whites. Pre-diabetes high blood pressure also is more frequent among African-Americans than whites.

"On the basis of these findings, we urge patients, especially those with high blood pressure, to adopt a more healthy lifestyle and urge physicians to more aggressively lower high blood pressure before diabetes develops."

As part of a long-term, ongoing study called Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC), researchers analyzed nationwide data on 12,107 adults ages 45 to 64 who either had heart disease or were at risk for developing it. None had diabetes when the participants first underwent extensive health evaluations between 1986 and 1989. Annual telephone interviews and clinic visits every three years were completed. After nine years, researchers looked at the status of such potentially modifiable risk factors as body-mass index, physical activity, smoking, alcohol use and diet, as well as other predisposing biological factors like blood pressure and plasma lipids.

In all, 1,425 patients (459 African-Americans and 966 whites) developed diabetes. Among the 6,763 women, 25 percent of African-Americans (298 people) developed diabetes, compared with 10.4 percent of whites (425 people). Among the 5,344 men, 23 percent of African-Americans (161 people) developed diabetes, compared with 15.9 percent of whites (541 people).

African-American women had fewer years of formal education, were more likely to have a family history of diabetes, had greater measures of body fat and reported less physical activity during leisure time. But potentially modifiable risk factors, such as diet and body fat, accounted for 47.8 percent of the excess risk of diabetes, Brancati says.

While similar risk factors were found in men, they did not account for racial differences in risk.

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. Other authors were W.H. Linda Kao, Ph.D., and Moyses Szlko, M.D., Dr.P.H., of Hopkins; Aaron R. Folsom, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Minnesota; and Robert L. Watson, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
-end-
Related Web sites:

Johns Hopkins' Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research www.med.jhu.edu/welchcenter/

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute www.nhlbi.nih.gov

American Heart Association www.americanheart.org

American Diabetes Association www.diabetes.org

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions' news releases are available on an EMBARGOED basis on EurekAlert, Newswise at www.newswise.com and from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs' direct e-mail news release service. To enroll, call 410-955-4288 or send e-mail to bsimpkins@jhmi.edu.

On a POST-EMBARGOED basis find them at http://hopkins.med.jhu.edu, Quadnet at www.quad-net.com and ScienceDaily at www.sciencedaily.com.

Media Contact: Karen Infeld 410-955-1534 Email: kinfeld@jhmi.edu

Note: Dr. Brancati will be traveling next week, please let our office know as soon as possible if you'd like to interview him.)

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.