Senior Thesis Abstract (Cherian)
Diabetes in the U.S.
Asian-Indian Population: Finding Answers in Diet and Lifestyle
Sub-field: Cultural Anthropology
Advisor: Frank Johnston, Biological Anthropologist
The number of diabetics in the United States has grown considerably each year. A significant proportion of these diabetics are of Asian Indian ethnicity, as their genetic predisposition places them at greater risk of developing diabetes. Although a rapidly growing ethnic population in the U.S. and with a high incidence rate of diabetes, research regarding diabetes in this population is only slowly emerging. Since the Asian Indian population has a common predisposition for diabetes, it was hypothesized that the risk of developing the disease primarily depended on diet. In order to determine whether the diet of Asian-Indians contained diabetes-promoting foods as well as their knowledge and concern for diabetes, a small population of Malayalee Indians was surveyed. Analysis of the data collected revealed the observance of three different diets, each arising from a combination of factors. As diabetes is heavily reliant on behavior modification, diet and lifestyle interventions are argued as the primary means to prevent the rise of diabetes to epidemic proportions in the Asian Indian population.