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.
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