Multiethnic research informs most cancers danger, diabetes discount methods


Researcher Unhee Lim shares her findings on obesity and cancer on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the MEC study. Photo credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa

One possible key to a high incidence of type 2 diabetes in Japanese Americans was uncovered using data from the world’s most ethnically diverse and long-running study, the University of Hawaii Cancer Center’s Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) study. The development of type 2 diabetes has been linked to visceral adipose tissue (VAT) or intra-abdominal fat, particularly in Japanese Americans with ectopic adipose tissue (EAT), excess fat in places not usually associated with fat storage. This latest finding is one of hundreds that have been informed by MEC data since its introduction in 1993.

One publication highlighted this new research, finding that obesity is commonly associated with type 2 diabetes in many races. Conversely, Japanese Americans have a relatively low body mass index, but tend to have higher VAT and EAT values. This results in fewer tests than races with higher obesity rates, which may be a factor in the high incidence among Japanese Americans.

The results of this study can help improve strategies for the early detection and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diet and exercise can play an important role in preventing the onset of diabetes. Individuals should contact their doctor for more information.

The MEC study

The state of Hawaii is known as one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country, which makes the UH Cancer Center a unique center for cancer research. In order to provide the best possible care for the Hawaiian population, epidemiologists at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, now known as the UH Cancer Center, initiated the MEC study in 1993. Over the years, the study has made many advances in understanding the existing differences in cancer risk among racial / ethnic groups and has had a significant impact in identifying ways to prevent cancer.

The MEC Study is a large epidemiological study that has enrolled 215,000 Hawaiian and Los Angeles residents ages 45 to 75 since 1993 on developing cancer and other chronic diseases. It includes men and women from five major ethnic groups: Japanese Americans, Native Hawaiians, African Americans, Latinos, and Whites. The study was initiated by Laurence Kolonel from the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and Brian Henderson from the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Southern California.

Ronald Cambra, who has been a participant in the MEC study since 1993, recently retired as Vice Chancellor of Basic Education at UH Mānoa after serving at the university for more than 40 years. He is one of the many residents across Hawaii and Los Angeles who made generous contributions in their time, sharing personal and health information that led to life changing and life saving cancer discoveries.

“I am very proud to be a member of the MEC,” said Cambra. “I recently read some of the conclusions from this work. I am more convinced than ever that every second of my time devoted to this task has resulted in knowledge, saved lives and accelerated our understanding and focus on to find that. ” best approaches to fight any cancer and ultimately a cure. ”

Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, at higher risk for liver fat

More information:
Gertraud Maskarinec et al. Body Fat Distribution, Glucose Metabolism, and Diabetes Status in Older Adults: The Multiethnic Cohort Adiposity Phenotype Study, Journal of Epidemiology (2021). DOI: 10.2188 / jea.JE20200538 Provided by the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Quote: Multi-ethnic study provides information on cancer risk, strategies to reduce diabetes (2021, March 8), accessed on March 8, 2021 from

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