White rice linked to diabetes in Asians

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A previous study of Chinese American mothers and their children by Chen (published in June 2009 issue of the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health) found that high household income was associated with higher consumption of fat and sweets on the part of the mother, and a high level of maternal acculturation was associated with a low body mass index among children.

In a recent study, Emily A Hu and colleagues reports that high levels of rice consumption were associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes among Asian, but not Western, populations. The analysis of data from
4 studies, including 7 prospective cohort analyses in Asian (China and Japan) and Western (Australia and US) populations, was published March 15 in the British Medical Journal by Hu from the Dept. of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

Using summary data from these studies, the authors conclude that the pooled relative risk for type 2 diabetes associated with highest vs lowest white rice intake was 1.55 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20 – 2.01) among Asian populations and 1.12 (95% CI, 0.94 – 1.33) in Western populations. The researchers conclude, “for each serving per day increment of white rice intake, the relative risk of type 2 diabetes was 1.11 ([95% CI,] 1.08-1.14) (P for linear trend<0.001).”