Diabetes is a condition where a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level is higher than normal. Twenty-one percent of Asian Americans have diabetes. About half are undiagnosed.


Here are some facts about diabetes that you should know:

  • 21 percent of Asian Americans have diabetes.1
  • 51 percent of Asian Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed, highest among all ethnic and racial groups.1
  • 33 percent of Asian Americans have prediabetes.1

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where a person's blood glucose level is higher than normal.

There are several types of diabetes, including:

  • Diabetes type 1. This is an autoimmune disease where the body does not produce enough insulin. About 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1.
  • Diabetes type 2. This is a chronic condition resulting from insufficient production of insulin by the body or body cells not reacting to insulin. It is the most common form of diabetes — more than 90 percent of those with diabetes have type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent form of diabetes among Chinese and Asians.
  • Prediabetes. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes. This occurs when women have an abnormally high blood glucose level during pregnancy.

Diabetes Resources

  • Type 2 diabetes and Chinese Americans. At the same body mass index (BMI), Chinese Americans are at least 60 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white Americans. Learn why.
  • Prediabetes. If you have prediabetes, losing weight by eating well and moving more can cut your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 50 percent. Learn more about prediabetes and how to reduce your risks.
  • Prediabetes self-assessment survey. Take this quiz to determine your prediabetes risk.
  • Common misconceptions. Are only those who like to consume sweet foods at risk of diabetes? Can those with diabetes eat carbohydrates such as noodles and rice? Find out more about the common misconceptions regarding diabetes.
  • Diet for diabetes prevention. By following some basic dietary guidelines, you can prevent or lower your risk of diabetes.
  • Diabetes Prevention Series. This program is proven to help reduce your risk for type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

1Prevalence & trends in diabetes among adults in the United States, 1988-2012. Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 26,000 records reviewed to determine prevalence and trends in diabetes.