FRIDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Lower fitness levels and
higher amounts of body fat are major reasons why middle-aged men of
South Asian origin living in Scotland have higher blood sugar
levels and a greater risk of diabetes than white men, according to
a new study.
The findings suggest that physical-activity guidelines may need
to be changed to take people's ethnicity into account, the
University of Glasgow researchers said.
The researchers measured blood sugar levels, insulin resistance
and other diabetes risk factors in 100 South Asian and 100 white
men, aged 40 to 70, without diabetes. The men's physical-fitness
levels were measured using a treadmill test and their body size and
body fat were calculated.
Lower fitness levels and greater body fat in South Asian men
explained more than 80 percent of their increased insulin
resistance compared to white men, the researchers concluded in the
study, which was published in the June 27 issue of the journal
The study also found that lower fitness levels among South Asian
men could not be explained simply by lower activity levels. The
South Asian men had lower fitness levels than white men at all
levels of physical activity, which suggests natural differences in
body makeup, the researchers said.
"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 minimize their diabetes risk," study
co-leader Dr. Jason Gill said in a journal news release.
"This has potential implications for physical activity guidance,
which, at present, does not take ethnicity into account," study
co-leader and professor Naveed Sattar said in the news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the
benefits of physical activity.