Having good overall cardiovascular health can significantly lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, but ethnic differences affect this risk.
These findings were made by scientists at John Hopkins University, US who calculated the incidence of type 2 diabetes in a multiethnic study of 5,341 people between 2002 and 2012.
The study team, led by Dr Joshua J. Joseph, examined links between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which share several risk factors including obesity and physical inactivity.
They analysed cardiovascular health markers such as blood pressure, dietary intake and total cholesterol among the participants, who were scored in one of three categories for each health factor: poor, intermediate and ideal.
Those with ‘poor’ levels of health in these markers were found to have a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes, but participants with ‘ideal’ cardiovascular health markers had a 75 per lower incidence of type 2.
When these scores were examined across ethnicities, African-American (AA) and Hispanic-American (HA) participants had higher diabetes incidence rates compared to non-Hispanic white Americans (NHW).
HA and AA participants were found to have significantly higher BMI, systolic blood pressure and fasting glucose compared to NHWs, the researchers reported.
The authors said: “The lower prevalence of ICH (ideal cardiovascular health), combined with lower magnitude of diabetes risk reduction with ICH in AA and HA, provides a potential explanation and intervention target for the disparities in diabetes prevalence among these groups.
“Given the racial/ethnic differences in attainment of ICH, the lower magnitude of risk reduction with ICH and the increased burden of diabetes in racial/ethnic minorities, further research on promotio, attainment and ethnic differences of ICH in racial/ethnic minority groups is of paramount importance to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
The study was published in Diabetologia.

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