Levels of physical activity and relationship with markers of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk in 5474 white European and South Asian adults screened for type 2 diabetes

Prev Med. Sep-Oct 2010;51(3-4):290-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2010.06.011. Epub 2010 Jun 19.


Objective: Investigate levels of physical activity and their association with health in a white European (WE) and South Asian (SA) population.

Methods: This study reports data from a diabetes screening programme, 2004-2007, Leicester, UK. Physical activity was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire; additional outcomes included fasting and 2-h post-challenge glucose, lipid profile, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.

Results: 1164 SA (female=48%) and 4310 WE (female=53%) were included. SAs were more likely fall below the minimum physical activity recommendations for health compared to WEs (age-adjusted OR for SA men=2.35; 95% CI=1.89-2.93, age adjusted OR for SA women=2.25; 95% CI=1.81-2.80). There were significant associations between levels of physical activity and BMI (men and women), waist circumference (men and women), 2-h glucose (women), HDL-cholesterol (men) and triglycerides (men) in WEs and waist circumference (women) and HDL-cholesterol (men) in SAs. Significant interactions between ethnicity and physical activity existed in the relationship with BMI and waist circumference in men.

Conclusions: SAs are substantially less physically active than WEs. There may also be differences between SAs and WEs in the health benefits associated with higher physical activity that warrant further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asia, Western / epidemiology
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides