Friday, September 24, 2010

Racial differences in the link between waist fat and diabetes

Here are the results of a study of 5,446 American men and women between the ages of 45 and 84:
For small waist, risk of incident diabetes was <1/100 person-years for all racial/ethnic groups. At intermediate waist levels, Chinese had the highest and whites the lowest rates of incident diabetes. At the respective 95th percentiles of waist circumference, risk of incident diabetes per 100 person-years was 3.9 for Chinese (104 cm), 3.5 for whites (121 cm), 5.0 for blacks (125 cm), and 5.3 for Hispanics (121 cm). Adiposity influenced relative diabetes occurrence across racial/ethnic groups, in that Chinese had a steeper diabetes risk per unit of adiposity. However, the generally low level of adiposity in Chinese led to a relatively low diabetes occurrence.
The moral of the story seems to be that everyone should be thin, but obesity is particularly a problem for non-whites. The finding for Chinese Americans surprises me.   

13 comments:

OneSTDV said...

I was going to post on this awhile back, but I'll offer my supposition here.

Is it possible that high diabetes and obesity rates amongst blacks and Hispanics results from their relatively lower adaption to the neolithic diet? Europeans have been eating the neolithic diet for about 10,000 years and some adaption to high starch is inexorable given that many generations. But blacks and Hispanics (especially the former) have only been eating Western agriculture for a much shorter time period.

Anonymous said...

I would think Hispanics, with their strong Amerindian genetic background, would have a shorter "neolithic diet heritage" than blacks. Most U.S. blacks are descended from West Africans, who are/were highly agricultural (though not quite as much Europeans).
Note also that U.S. American Indians are also an extremely high diabetes-prone group.

Anonymous said...

I would think Hispanics, with their strong Amerindian genetic background, would have a shorter "neolithic diet heritage" than blacks. Most U.S. blacks are descended from West Africans, who are/were highly agricultural (though not quite as much Europeans).
Note also that U.S. American Indians are also an extremely high diabetes-prone group.

coldequation said...

I wonder if this has something to do with wheat consumption. Whites are the only group that has eaten wheat for a long time (considering that the government defines middle-easterners as white).

The Chinese eat a lot of starch (rice), but not wheat.

Anon, "Hispanics" are mostly Euro-Native hybrids, not pure Native Americans, and a lot of those were corn growing mesoamericans.

Matt said...

North Chinese are wheaty fellows I think (not sure if they're more of a sink or a source in a Chinese population context), more so than most Northern Europeans who ate a lot of rye and oats and barley and so on (though these are closely related to wheat).

The orthodox Low Carb position would be that since a larger percentage of the diet (or Asians and Amerind types) is in carbohydrate, they can have damage their insulin response more without gaining so much weight, thus diabetes - http://akinokure.blogspot.com/2010/09/japan-may-be-one-of-most-diabetic.html.

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