A new UK-based study suggests that people of South Asian origin are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than white Europeans because they naturally have higher levels of blood sugar.
Researchers from the University of Leicester examined 4,688 white Europeans and 1,352 people of India, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan origin.
They found that those in the South Asian group had higher levels of HbA1c (a three-month measure of blood sugar), fasting plasma glucose, and two-hour plasma glucose – even before taking into account risk factors for type 2 diabetes such as obesity and high blood pressure.
Dr Samiul Mostafa, a Clinical Research Fellow in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Leicester’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, said: “We know Type 2 Diabetes is more common in South Asians compared to Europeans and is diagnosed at an earlier age. We are trying to explain reasons why this occurs beyond the well-known risk factors of diet and physical activity.
“Our study suggests the main measures of glucose used in diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes are all higher in South Asians independent of risk factors which cause diabetes such as obesity, blood pressure, smoking and gender.
“This may explain why diabetes diagnosis is higher in South Asians but more research is required.”

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