The most recent Hawaii Diabetes Report, released earlier this year by the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, reveals that this serious disease is a major public health problem in the Aloha State--and it is hitting people of Native Hawaiian, Filipino and Japanese ancestry particularly hard. According to the report, an estimated 72,000 to 100,000 people in Hawaii currently have diabetes, of which 25,000 or more remain undiagnosed. More than 900 Hawaiians die each year from diabetes-related complications, making it the seventh leading cause of death in the state.
Although Native Hawaiians account for only about 23% percent of Hawaii’s population, they have the highest age-adjusted diabetes mortality rates of any ethnic group in the state: 47 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with seven for whites, 19 for Hawaiians of Japanese descent and 22 for Hawaiians of Filipino descent. Native Hawaiians also have the youngest mean age of diabetes diagnosis (44.6 years of age vs. 51.2 for whites) and the highest diabetes prevalence rates (7.9% of adults, compared with 3.4% for whites, 6.6% for Japanese and 7.5% for Filipinos). The full report is available online at http://www.hawaii.gov/health/.