Aerobic-based exercise can help prevent specific ethnicities from developing type 2 diabetes, research suggests.
A team from the University of Tennessee looked at 27 different studies which compared race, exercise and the risk of type 2 diabetes. The duration of the research they looked at spanned 28 years and had been mainly carried out in America.
The aim of the study was to systematically examine the effect of ethnicity and physical activity among people with type 2 diabetes.
The number of people with a diabetes diagnosis was recorded using a number of different methods including self-reporting and medical records.
The findings suggested that exercise increased the chances of white, Asia, Hispanic and Native American people of staying diabetes free. Effect of exercise did not significantly alter the outcome for black people.
This is not to say that black people will not benefit from exercise. It is that the effect was lower in black people in this study. Other factors may be at play and more research will be needed to investigate why the effect on of exercise on diabetes may be different in black people.
William R. Boyer, a PhD student in the department of kinesiology at the US university said: “The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines Committee Report indicates significant need to further understand the effects of [physical activity] on diabetes risk among ethnically diverse populations.
“Although meta-analyses have examined and established a clear inverse relationship between [physical activity] and [type 2 diabetes] risk, to our knowledge no meta-analysis has assessed effect modification of this relationship by race-ethnicity.”
It is already well known that being active on a regular basis can help prevent type 2 diabetes, but researchers did not know what extent exercise had among different races which is why the carried out the recent work.
The authors wrote: “With the exception of [non-Hispanic blacks], a similar magnitude of protection was found comparing the most active with the least active groups, ranging from 24 per cent (among Asians) to 29 per cent (among [whites]).
“The summary estimate for [non-Hispanic blacks], although protective, did not reach statistical significance. The results of the present analysis add to the existing literature on [physical activity] and [type 2 diabetes], by demonstrating effect modification by race-ethnicity.”
The findings have been published in Endocrinology Today.

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