South Asians advised to exercise more to lower diabetes risk
Washington: People from South Asian countries like from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are urged to exercise more than white Europeans to achieve the same levels of fitness and reduce their risk of diabetes.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow have found that lower fitness levels in middle-aged men of South Asian origin are contributing to higher blood sugar levels and increased diabetes risk compared with white men.
The research suggests that physical activity guidelines may need to be changed to take ethnicity into account.
It is already known that people of South Asian ethnicity living in the United Kingdom have a 3-5 fold increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes, and develop the disease around a decade earlier and at a lower body mass index (BMI), compared with white Europeans.
Even non-diabetic South Asians have higher blood sugar levels than Europeans, and while the cause of this is not fully understood, an increased resistance of body cells to the effects of insulin is strongly implicated.
Carrying too much fat, a low level of fitness and low physical activity levels are key factors influencing insulin resistance, blood sugar levels and diabetes risk.
In this study, the researchers aimed to determine the extent to which increased insulin resistance and blood sugar levels in South Asian men, compared with white European men, living in the UK, was due to lower fitness and physical activity levels.
The results suggested that lower fitness, together with greater body fat in South Asians, explained over 80 per cent of their increased insulin resistance compared to white men.
The findings are published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).