The risk of diabetes may be different for people from different racial
and ethnic backgrounds....
But when does this gap begin? Findings from a recent study showed that ethnic
differences in diabetes risk can be spotted even before people develop
full-blown diabetes. The authors concluded, "Ethnic differences can be detected
at both the early and later stages of the diabetes disease process."
Carlos Lorenzo, MD, and his colleagues from the University of Texas Health
Science Center wanted to see if ethnic differences in diabetes risk started
early in the diabetes disease process.
Dr. Lorenzo and colleagues compared the risks of impaired glucose tolerance,
impaired fasting glucose and diabetes between Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic
They found that Mexican Americans were 1.48 times more likely to have
impaired glucose tolerance and 1.71 times more likely to have impaired fasting
glucose, compared to whites.
In addition, Mexican Americans were 2.20 times more likely than whites to
develop diabetes, even among participants who started the study with normal
2-hour glucose (a measure of blood sugar levels 2 hours after eating a glucose
Obesity also played a role in the relationship between ethnicity and the risk
of developing impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes. Among non-obese
participants, Mexican Americans had a higher risk of impaired glucose tolerance
Among obese participants, however, these risks were similar between Mexican
Americans and whites. Even though whites generally had a lower risk of
prediabetes and diabetes, their risk became similar to that of Mexican Americans
when they became obese
This study included 3,015 Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites between
25 and 64 years of age. Source: Diabetes Care, Aug. 24, 2012