There is good evidence that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the incidence of diabetes (Hu etal., 2001), as can treating impaired glucose tolerance with lifestyle modification (Tuomilehto etal., 2001). The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study assigned 522 middle-aged overweight men and women (mean BMI 31 kgm-2) with impaired glucose tolerance into intervention (individual counselling on diet and physical activity) and control groups. At 3.2 years of follow-up the intervention group had a 58 per cent lower incidence of diabetes, significantly greater reductions in weight and dietary fat intake and greater increases in dietary fibre and exercise (>4h per week) reversing the changes of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome (Tuomilehto etal., 2001). Reports of specific interventions to reverse impaired glucose tolerance in people from ethnic groups are currently lacking and are an area for future study. There is, however, good rationale to manage the presence of the metabolic syndrome with achieving optimal weight through improved diet and increased physical activity, as well as to treat lipid (elevated triglyceride and low HDL-cholesterol) and non-lipid (hypertension) risk factors, should they exist, in people from all ethnic groups.
Indeed, our findings reveal that the risk of the metabolic syndrome is higher in some ethnic groups (such as South Asians) even within the normal weight range and among non-diabetic subjects. Knowledge among clinicians of the higher risk for the metabolic syndrome in certain ethnic groups should heighten awareness of the importance of lifestyle modification when appropriate, and that detection of one component of the metabolic syndrome should alert them to search for and manage the other components.
Was this article helpful?
Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...