South Asians 'require more exercise' to reduce diabetes

28 June 2013

South Asians may have to exercise more than white Europeans to achieve the same levels of fitness and reduce their risk of diabetes, according to new health research.

A team from the University of Glasgow 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, published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), suggests that physical activity guidelines may need to be changed to take ethnicity into account.

Already people from South Asia – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh - have a three to five-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.

Dr Nazim Ghouri, of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences who led the study with Dr Jason Gill and Prof Naveed Sattar, said: "Low fitness is the single most important factor associated with the increased insulin resistance and blood sugar levels in middle-aged South Asian compared with European men living in the UK."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

"Lower cardiorespiratory fitness contributes to increased insulin resistance and fasting glycaemia in middle-aged South Asian compared with European men living in the UK".  N. Ghouri, D. Purves, A. McConnachie, J. Wilson, J. M. R. Gill, N. Sattar. Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes

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