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When it came to choosing a dissertation subject for her doctorate in health promotion and wellness, Rupal Patel, PT, PhD, targeted a field about which she's passionate—diabetes prevention—and an understudied population—Asian Indians in the United States.

Community Health

Type 2 diabetes is the fifth-leading cause of death among Asian Americans, and Asian Indians have the highest prevalence of it within that population. According to the American Community Survey, from 2000 to 2010 the Asian Indian population in the United States grew by 67.6% (3.2 million people). Asian Indians who immigrate to Western countries are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes for reasons linked to the metabolic impact of a westernized diet and tissue resistance to insulin.1-4 So, Patel, herself of Asian Indian descent, set out to effect change in her own backyard—reaching out to 1 of the largest Hindu temples in the Houston, Texas, area.

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  1. Thomas A, Ashcraft A. Type 2 diabetes risk among Asian Indians in the US: a pilot study. Nursing Research and Practice. 2013; article ID 492893. doi: 10.1155/2013/492893.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: general information and national estimates on diabetes in the United States, 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf. Accessed February 27, 2018.
  3. US Census Bureau. The Asian population, 2010. http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-11.pdf. Accessed February 27, 2018.
  4. Lee JWR, Brancati FL, Yeh HC. Trends in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Asians versus whites: results from the United States National Health Interview Survey 1997–2008. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(2):353–357.
  5. Short GA. Exercising their abilities. UAB Magazine. Fall 2017. https://www.uab.edu/uabmagazine/features/exercising-their-abilities. Accessed February 8, 2018.
  6. American Physical Therapy Association. Professionalism webpage. http://www.apta.org/Professionalism/. Accessed February 8, 2018.
  7. Black B, Ingman M, Janes J. Physical therapists' role in health promotion as perceived by the patient: descriptive survey. Phys Ther. 2016;96(10):1588-1596.

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