AAPI Heritage Month
Each May, we amplify our support of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Like many people of South Asian ancestry, Anjana Srivastava can offer a long list of family members who’ve had heart disease.
“My grandfathers. My dad. My father-in-law. My brothers,” she recalled. “My grandmother died from it. I don’t think I even know a single family where someone doesn’t have heart disease.”
That’s one reason Srivastava, who grew up in India but lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, signed up to be part of the first large, long-term U.S. study of heart health in South Asian Americans more than a decade ago.
That study is MASALA – the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America. Launched in 2010, it has uncovered important details about heart health in the fast-growing group.
Large health studies sometimes paint a rosy picture of Asian Americans in comparison with other groups. But when researchers aren’t using a broad brush, the portrait can be quite different.
When viewed not as a single entity of 20 million people but as people of Chinese, Filipino, Indian or other distinct backgrounds, significant differences – and health disparities – appear.
For example, a 2020 study in the American Journal of Public Health, based on California Health Interview Survey data, found Asians overall appeared healthier than non-Hispanic white people. But the aggregated data masked disparities: Filipino and Japanese adults reported high blood pressure more often than white and Asian people overall, and Japanese and Korean adults had higher rates of diabetes.
Full article here: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/05/18/research-into-asian-american-health-doesnt-always-reflect-their-diversity