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Ashland Temple Hosts Diabetes Survey Among Indian Americans

Nirmala Garimella

A DIA Study (Diabetes on Indian Americans) on Risk Factors For Diabetes & Coronary Artery Disease among Indian Americans was conducted by Ranjita Misra, PhD, CHES, Texas along with local doctors Dr Raji Annamalai and Dr Om Ganda at the Ashland Temple on August 22nd, 2004. Around 60 respondents that were chosen through a random phone interview participated in the blood work that was part of the survey. According to Ranjita Mishra who is heading this research, more than 150 people agreed to take part in the survey from New England that is ongoing from September 14th to the end of October at the Brigham and Women Hospital under the site coordinator, Dr Raji Annamalai and chief investigator Dr Om Ganda.

The purpose of this study was threefold, according to this research group. It was to increase awareness, gain knowledge and study the perceptions of the health of Indian Americans. “Very often this entire group is grouped under the term Asians and that does not give us accurate results on the behavior, medical, diet and exercise pattern of Indians. Many reports mask a lot of ethnic differences” said Dr Misra

Asian Indians around the world have one of the highest rates of coronary artery disease (CAD) and diabetes mellitus (DM). When compared to Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and other Asians, the CAD rates among Asian Indians worldwide are 2-4 times higher at all ages and 5-10 times higher in those < 40 years of age. There is a lack of information on prevalence of CAD and diabetes in Asian Indians living in the USA.

Many Indians also dilute this issue according to her and there was an urgent need to address this issue. However she found that the response from Boston was very good and encouraging. The survey is being conducted in 6 sites in the US and two in India at the All India Institute of Medical sciences in New Delhi and at the Gandhi Gram Rural Institute in Madurai India. The study hopes to gain an understanding of many factors including health, diet and exercise habits of Indians residing in a rural, urban and western setting.

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From the left (back row) Dr. Ganda (Joslin Diabetes Center), Tyronne (Phlebotomist), Dr. Raji (Brigham and Womens Hospital), and Dr. Arja (from Childrens Hospital, Harvard). In the front row are Ranjita Misra, Angela (Phlebotomist), and Dr. Panigrahy (from Childrens Hospital, Harvard).

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