Diabetes and South Asian communities


I recently attended the launch of leading health charity Diabetes UK and the South Asian Health Foundation (SAFH)’s new report highlighting 16 diabetes research topics relating to the South Asian community.

The two charities launched Diabetes UK and South Asian Health Foundation recommendations on diabetes research priorities for British South Asians at the House of Commons on Wednesday 17 June. The report lays the groundwork to find out more about diabetes in South Asian people in the UK and discover why Type 2 diabetes is up to six times more common in South Asian people than the general population.

It is vital that diabetes research in South Asian people in the UK is carried out if we are to combat this growing health epidemic. I was delighted to attend the launch of this important report and hope that researchers around the country will take note of these guidelines and find them a useful tool when determining which issues to examine.

The report underlines important areas of research in people of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin in the UK. Priority topics, which are aimed at researchers and funding bodies, include lack of appropriate participation in diabetes research of South Asian people, genetics, cultural factors concerning diet and exercise, screening, prevention of Type 2 diabetes, psychological consequences of diabetes and treatment and care.

The report is the culmination of an eight-month review by Diabetes UK and SAHF, which was carried out because of the high prevalence of diabetes in those communities. South Asian people make up four per cent of the total UK population and an estimated eight per cent of people with diabetes. In England, there are 200,000 South Asian people with diabetes.

South Asian people in the UK are up to six times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes compared to the general population and tend to have poorer diabetes management. They are also three times more likely to develop heart disease and four times more likely to have kidney disease. For more information about diabetes visit the Diabetes UK website.

Posted 30 June 2009

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