Body shape link to diabetes risk explained for women, but not men

Body shape explains the higher diabetes risk faced by black and South Asian women, but higher risks for men remain a mystery, UK researchers say.

Diabetes: link to body shape of women has been explained (photo: SPL)

A team from Imperial College London studied 4,857 people without diabetes between 1989 and 1991 and followed them up 20 years later. In total, 14% of those of European heritage developed diabetes, compared with 33% of those of Indian Asian heritage and 30% of those of African Caribbean heritage.

This equates to a doubling of diabetes risk among those of Indian Asian and African Caribbean heritage. The risk was 2.88-times higher for Indian Asian men, 1.91-times higher for Indian Asian women, 2.23-times higher for African Caribbean men and 2.51-times higher for African Caribbean women.

The researchers found that differences in baseline insulin resistance and truncal obesity largely accounted for the excess risk among ethnic minority women.

But, even after accounting for differences in insulin resistance and truncal obesity, Indian Asian and African Caribbean men still face twice the risk of developing diabetes.

‘Strikingly, we show that despite our comprehensive measures, the ethnic minority excess of incident diabetes in men (both Indian Asians and African Caribbeans) cannot be explained, whereas it can be explained for women.’

The researchers also said the reasons behind the greater insulin resistance among ethnic minorities were still unclear. They argue it may be more appropriate to see differences in this risk as ‘protection from insulin resistance in individuals of European origin’.

The Imperial College team concluded: ‘Better assessment of risk factors or a search for novel factors are required if we are to understand why ethnic minority groups are at such high risk for diabetes.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

  • Clinical Lead Menlo Park Recruitment East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Clinical Lead Menlo Park Recruitment Cottingham
  • Private GP Menlo Park Recruitment Tunbridge Wells
  • GP Partner Menlo Park Recruitment Fareham
  • GP Tuakau Health Centre New Zealand (Tuakau - Franklin Region)

Just published

BMA chair Professor Phil Banfield

BMA urges Lords to block legislation for GMC to regulate PAs

The BMA has urged peers to block legislation that would make the GMC responsible...

Patient satisfaction screen

How a GP practice worked with patients to stop a torrent of complaints

A GP practice has seen complaints drop from 50-plus a day to just four in 10 months...

British Army soldiers marching

How the NHS Op COURAGE service can help support veterans

Armed forces veterans often have unique health needs. Clinical staff from London...

GP consultation

Continuity of care would save millions of GP appointments each year, new study finds

GP workload would be significantly reduced if continuity of care was prioritised...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Visa sponsor shortage threatens GP workforce, locum GPs struggle to find work, record appointments

The GPonline team discusses the key news stories affecting general practice in our...

RCGP sign

RCGP condemns threat to retention funding as third of GPs consider quitting

Funding for GP retention risks being stripped away to cover other financial pressures...