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Migrants from India at greater risk of contracting Diabetes

Indian immigrants to the UK are developing diabetes at twice the rate of Britons of European origin, according to a new study.

The study was compiled by Dr Nish Chaturvedi at Imperial College London and followed some 5000 immigrants of Indian, West African and Caribbean descent over a 20-year period.

The findings – published in Diabetes Care, the journal of the American Diabetes Association – reveal that 33 percent of Indian immigrants and 30 percent of Afro-Caribbean immigrants developed Type 2 diabetes compared to just 14 percent of British people of European descent.

Type 2 diabetes typically results from obesity around the waistline and growing resistance to insulin, which helps the body metabolize sugar.

Dr. Therese Tillin of the International Centre for Circulatory Health at Imperial College London and lead author of the study told the UKAsian that the higher-calorie diet in the UK may be a factor: “When you grow up in an environment where diets are less energy rich, your body becomes programmed to deal efficiently with that environment. But when people migrate and encounter a rapid change in their diet – for instance, the more calorie-rich diet one in the UK – their bodies are not effective enough in deal with the change.”

Recent studies carried out in India suggest that people moving from rural to urban areas are also twice as likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

Dr Tillin further revealed that South Asian women who migrated were likely to put on extra weight around the waist and displayed increased resistance to the effects of insulin in mid-life, leading to Indian Asian women being more at risk of developing Diabetes than European women.

The study looked at first-generation migrants in London between the ages of 40 and 69 who didn’t already have Type 2 diabetes at the start of the study in 1988.

While Africans, African Caribbeans and Europeans are typically diagnosed at about age 66 or 67, South Asian men were five years younger on average at the time of diagnosis, suggesting they are at greater risk of complications, according to the study authors.

Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 2.9 million people in the U.K.

The condition can result in coronary failure and kidney disease.

– Viji Alles

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