ObjectiveSouth Asians have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes compared with other race/ethnic groups. Body composition is associated with the risk for type 2 diabetes. Differences in body composition between South Asians and other race/ethnic groups are one hypothesized mechanism to explain the disproportionate prevalence of type 2 diabetes in this population.
Research design and methodsThis study used data from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohorts to determine whether body composition mediated the elevated prevalence of impaired fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes in South Asians. Participants (n = 2,615) with complete body composition data were included. Ordinal logistic regression models were calculated to determine the odds for glycemic impairment in South Asians compared with the MESA cohort.
ResultsIn multivariate models, South Asians had a significantly higher prevalence of glycemic impairment and type 2 diabetes compared with all four race/ethnic groups included in the MESA (P < 0.001 for all). In unadjusted and multivariate adjusted models, South Asians had higher odds for impaired fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes compared with all other race/ethnic groups (P < 0.001 for all). The addition of body composition measures did not significantly mitigate this relationship.
ConclusionsWe did not identify strong evidence that accounting for body composition explains differences in the risk for type 2 diabetes. Future prospective studies of the MESA and MASALA cohorts are needed to understand how adipose tissue impacts the risk for type 2 diabetes and how to best assess this risk.