New research reveals UK South Asian kids have higher diabetes risk
NEW research says worrying warning signs of type 2 diabetes begin to show for South Asian children as young as 10.
UK South Asian children are already heading on a path towards type 2 diabetes at age 10, according to new research funded jointly by the British Heart Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
Researchers from St George’s, University of London detected early warning signs of type 2 diabetes in the blood of otherwise healthy British Asian children.
The shocking results formed part of the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE), which looked at the health of British children aged 9 and 10 in London, Birmingham and Leicester.
Researchers from St George’s, University of London tested blood samples from 4,796 children.
Tests revealed higher levels of some blood markers – signs that you might go on to develop type 2 diabetes – in children from South Asian families.
Black African-Caribbean children were also more likely to be more at risk than white children, but the difference was smaller.
Although researchers haven’t identified a single cause for these worrying warning signs, they think that lifestyle issues like diet and exercise are likely to be particularly important, while genes may also play a role.
Professor Peter Whincup Research Leader at St George’s, University of London said: “These findings are particularly important in light of the growing problem that type 2 diabetes represents worldwide, they suggest that at least some of the causes of ethnic differences in the prevalence of diabetes are working before adult life.
“We know that being physically active, eating healthily and avoiding being overweight help all children to lower their long-term risks of type 2 diabetes.
“But we need to do more research to find out which particular factors make Asian and African-Caribbean people more likely to develop diabetes, so that we can establish the most effective measures for preventing the disease from an early stage in life.”
Dr. Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation added: “The prevalence of heart disease and diabetes is disproportionately high in South Asian people, and this research shows that signs of differences in risk are already apparent in young children.
“This shows how important it is that we take a life course approach to tackling health inequalities. We need to intervene early to divert these children off the road to ill health.”
The British Heart Foundation are urging British Asian families not to ignore health risks.
They have a range of booklets in a variety of languages with information on staying healthy.
Log onto www.bhf.org.uk for more information.