People from south Asian communities can be up to six times more likely to have diabetes than the general population. The death rate from coronary heart disease is higher among south Asian men and women who were born outside the UK than it is among the general population. This may be linked to diet, lifestyle and different ways of storing fat in the body. According to a study by University of Glasgow in June 2013 it suggested that physical-activity guidelines may need to be changed to take people’s ethnicity into account.

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 was 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 study co-leader Dr. Jason Gill said in a journal news release 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.