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San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

San Francisco Health Commission Votes to Support SFMS-Endorsed “Screen at 23” Campaign

The San Francisco Health Commission voted unanimously to support a campaign to unmask the hundreds of thousands of hidden cases of diabetes among Asian Americans. The San Francisco Medical Society joins the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Diabetes Coalition, and a growing list of medical and public health experts in endorsing use of body mass index (BMI) of 23 as a risk factor to consider for diabetes testing among Asian Americans. Several SFMS members provided testimony in support of the resolution at the October 20, 2015 Health Commission meeting.

Obesity and the many negative health consequences of it is a worsening problem among Asian Americans. Physicians and other clinicians need reliable screening tools to address this issue among their patients, and the standard BMI needs to reflect the reality of physiology.

The approved resolution aims to raise awareness and screening for diabetes at a body mass index of 23 a standard across the Department of Public Health through the San Francisco Health Network, and encourages its use across private and public health care settings.

“The most recent data from the National Institutes of Health showed that over half of all Asian Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed, and this reinforces the need for ‘Screen at 23’,” said Dr. Edward Chow, San Francisco Health Commission President and a past president of the San Francisco Medical Society. “Our Coalition members and partners are poised to spread this message far and wide, but it will really depend on the public, health plans and physicians to act on it.”

San Francisco becomes the first U.S. city and county to encourage the adoption of these appropriate screening guidelines throughout its citywide health care system.

Click here for the clinical research supporting Screen at 23 from the American Diabetes Association.

Click here for the May 2015 “Asian BMI is 23” article from San Francisco Medicine, co-authored by Commission President Dr. Edward Chow.

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