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07-03-2018 | Risk factors | ADA 2018 | News

Cultural assimilation may be cardioprotective in South Asian women

medwireNews: South Asian women who assimilate American culture following migration to the USA have a more favorable cardiometabolic risk (CMR) profile than those who maintain a preference for South Asian culture, results of the MASALA study show.

There was no such phenomenon in men, however.

Speaking at the ADA’s 78th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida, USA, Rita Rastogi Kalyani (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) explained that, for the MASALA (Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America) study, 849 South Asian men and women were categorized into one of three classes of acculturation based on self-reported questionnaire responses: separation (indicating a preference for South Asian culture); assimilation (preference for US culture); and integration (similar preference for South Asian and US cultures).

Rastogi Kalyani and team hypothesized that assimilated individuals would have a higher prevalence of cardiometabolic disease and CMR factors than those who fell into the separated class.

However, this was not the case. In fact, among men, there were no significant differences between any of the acculturation strategies in fasting blood glucose, 2-hour glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and BMI.

Among women, employing an assimilation strategy was associated with significantly lower triglycerides (approximately 110 vs 137 mg/dL) and significantly higher HDL (approximately 60 vs 51 mg/dL) levels compared with a separation strategy, even after adjustment for a number of potential confounders such as age, years lived in the USA, education level, physical activity, and calorific intake.

Rastogi Kalyani concluded: “Cultural factors and social norms are important and potentially modifiable contributors to type 2 diabetes that need to be explored.

“Future research should investigate the behavioral pathways linking acculturation strategies with CMR and potential incorporation into prevention interventions.”

She added: “Once we address the cultural differences, the sum of the attitudes, customs, and beliefs that contribute to type 2 diabetes, we can more effectively reduce the escalating burden of diabetes in the United States. Type 2 diabetes is a global epidemic that starts at home. Our challenge is to stop diabetes for every person in every home.”

By Laura Cowen

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2018 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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