The MASALA study is expanding to second gen South Asians; focus on food and cardiac risk
South Asians have the highest death rate from heart disease in the U.S. compared to other ethnic groups. Globally, 60% of patients with heart disease are South Asians.
Cardiovascular risk in South Asian Americans – Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi immigrant populations – leads to the early onset of plaque in arteries, compared to other groups. That’s what the 12-year long Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America – or MASALA study – has found. And now, the study is expanding to include the children of South Asian immigrants who participated in the first round.
This hour on Where We Live, we’ll discuss the scope of the study: By 2024, the MASALA cohort will include around 2300 participants in California, Illinois, and New York, whose health will be tracked over the next several decades. The goal? To understand the factors — food, socio-economic determinants, genetics — leading to heart disease in South Asian Americans, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.
Findings to date include the link between ectopic fat and cardiac health; a plant diet on heart health; and Coronary artery calcium incidence and changes using direct plaque measurements: The MASALA study.
And, researchers offer Health Tips to South Asians, including a carb counting tool for traditional South Asian foods and healthy vegetarian keto recipes.
- Dr. Nilay Shah: Cardiologist and epidemiologist, faculty at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Co-Investigator at the MASALA Study.
- Krishnendu Ray: Associate Professor of Food and Nutrition Studies, New York University. Author of The Migrant's Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households.
- Shraddha Chaubey: Dietitian and Nutritionist, and founder of NutriPledge, LLC. President of the CT Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
This show was produced by Sujata Srinivasan, with help from talk show intern Mira Raju.
Cat Pastor contributed to this show which originally aired July 27, 2022.