Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Cambodian Refugees

Published in: Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, v.18, no. 1, Feb. 2016, p. 110-117

Posted on RAND.org on February 11, 2015

by Grant N. Marshall, Terry L. Schell, Eunice C. Wong, Sarah Megan Berthold, Katrin Hambarsoomian, Marc N. Elliott, Barbara Bardenheier, Edward W. Gregg

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To determine rates of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia in Cambodian refugees, and to assess the proportion whose conditions are satisfactorily managed in comparison to the general population. Self-report and laboratory/physical health assessment data obtained from a household probability sample of U.S.-residing Cambodian refugees (N = 331) in 2010-2011 were compared to a probability sample of the adult U.S. population (N = 6,360) from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia in Cambodian refugees greatly exceeded rates found in the age- and gender-adjusted U.S. population. Cambodian refugees with diagnosed hypertension or hyperlipidemia were less likely than their counterparts in the general U.S. population to have blood pressure and total cholesterol within recommended levels. Increased attention should be paid to prevention and management of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in the Cambodian refugee community. Research is needed to determine whether this pattern extends to other refugee groups.

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