A study shows that there is a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes than type 1 diabetes in White, South Asian and Chinese people under 30 years old in British Columbia, Canada.

The study looked at 7,386 people with diabetes. 712 were South Asian, 498 Chinese and 6,176 White. The rates of type 2 diabetes across the different groups were as follows:

  • Chinese: 87.1%
  • South Asian: 86.4%
  • White: 61.8%

The results show that type 2 diabetes was the most common type of diabetes in each of the groups with the South Asians and Chinese young adults at particularly high risk of developing the condition.

The results also showed that incidence of type 2 diabetes in the population among 20-29 year olds was 2.2 times higher in South Asians than in Whites and 3.1 times higher in South Asians than in Chinese.

The researchers note that the study shows that incidence of type 2 diabetes is younger adults is greater than has been previously estimated and that the study shows that screening, particularly for South Asians should be considered at an earlier age. Currently, screening for type 2 diabetes starts at age 40 whereas the study shows that significant numbers of people, and particularly South Asians, are being diagnosed within their twenties.

First author of the study Dr, Calvin Ke states: “Over the last few decades, lifestyles have changed dramatically. Many now live in urbanized environments where people are generally less active, and eat more high-calorie foods. These changes have led to an astounding increase of young people with diabetes.”