press trust of india
LONDON, 28 JUNE: South Asians may have to exercise more than white Europeans to achieve the same levels of fitness and reduce their risk of diabetes, new research says. 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, 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.
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. 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.
They studied 100 South Asian and 100 European men aged 40-70 years living in Scotland without diagnosed diabetes and measured their blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and other risk factors. 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. 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.”
Dr Gill added, “The fact that South Asians’ increased insulin resistance and blood sugar levels are strongly associated with their lower fitness levels, and that increasing physical activity is the only way to increase fitness, suggests that South Asians may need to engage in greater levels of physical activity than Europeans to achieve the same levels of fitness and minimise their diabetes risk.