The Telegraph: Heart risk factors vary greatly among Asian immigrants

"Asian immigrants in the United States are a widely diverse group with heart health risk factors that vary depending on where they are from, new research shows.

It's the first study to divide Asian Americans into subgroups to see how their risk factors for heart disease differ from their U.S.-born white peers. Researchers found immigrants from the Indian subcontinent were more likely to be overweight or obese and less likely to have high blood pressure. Southeast Asians were more likely to have high cholesterol. And both groups were more likely to report having diabetes and being physically inactive, but were less likely to smoke than their white counterparts."

Asian Americans and COVID-19 Deaths

We need disaggregated Asian health data!

"13,620 more Asian Americans died in the US in 2020, compared to the prior 5 year average.  Most of these excess deaths in Asian Americans were in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Pennsylvania."

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The omission, aggregation, and extrapolation of Asian-American health data

Asian Americans make up the fastest growing racial group in the United States, yet their health needs and disparities remain poorly understood. Asian American health data is scarce, and what little data does exist groups all Asians together (e.g. Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and others). As a consequence of this grouping—or “aggregation”—health differences between the various Asian ethnic subgroups are obscured. 

When health studies do disaggregate Asian American health data, typically only one Asian American subgroup is studied. Furthermore, findings from these studies are often incorrectly extrapolated to other Asian American subgroups.  

To correct errors associated with the omission, aggregation, and extrapolation of Asian American health data, it is vital to 1) oversample Asian Americans in health studies, 2) collect and report race and ethnicity data by Asian subgroup, and 3) acknowledge the tremendous heterogeneity of Asian Americans when interpreting data.

NIH Funding of Asian American Clinical Health Research (1992 to 2018)

What is the level of investment by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund clinical research focused on Asian American populations? In this study, researchers found that only 0.17% of clinical research projects funded by the NIH focused on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA/NHPI) participants. Furthermore, only 5.1% of this AA/NHPI funding was allocated to research career wards, training grants, and fellowships. AA/NHPI populations remain severely underrepresented in the biomedical workforce. 

Although promoting health equity for AAI/NHPI populations is a priority for federal agencies, the impact and future direction of investments in and legislation on this issue remain unclear. The dearth of financial support for AA/NHPI health research, as well as the absence of efforts to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce, may continue to languish minority populations. 

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To contact the researchers and to see past publications, see our Associated Faculty page for links to their CAP profiles.