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Diabetes UK pinpoints key research in South Asian people

Diabetes UK and the South Asian Health Foundation (SAHF) are highlighting 16 research topics in a new report to find out more about diabetes in South Asian people.

The report's recommendations aim to discover why Type 2 diabetes is up to six times more common in South Asian people than the general population.

The two charities, supported by Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, are today launching “Diabetes UK and South Asian Health Foundation recommendations on diabetes research priorities for British South Asians”, at the House of Commons.

Important areas of research

South Asian people make up four per cent of the total UK population and an estimated eight per cent of people with diabetes. 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.

Big health challenge

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today with £1million an hour already being spent by the NHS on the condition. While considerable effort is invested in diabetes research we need to examine diabetes in South Asian people living in the UK in more detail.

“It is astonishing that 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. We don’t entirely know why this is yet, but Diabetes UK and SAHF’s new report is a solid first step in the process of discovery and serves as an important guideline for researchers and funding bodies who are interested in this area.”

Useful tool

Keith Vaz, MP, hosted the parliamentary reception and is a keen campaigner on diabetes issues. He said: “Research in diabetes in South Asian people in the UK is absolutely essential if we are to tackle this growing health epidemic. I hope that researchers around the country will take note of these guidelines and find them a useful tool when determining which issues to examine.”

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