Dr. Samiul A Mostafa of the University of Leicester said the study involved 4,688 white Europeans and 1,352 South Asians -- people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan origin.
The study, published in Diabetes Care, found South Asians had higher levels of three measures of blood sugar -- HbA1c, a measure of blood sugar over three months; fasting plasma glucose; and 2-hour plasma glucose -- which are all used for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
"'We know type 2 diabetes is more common in South Asians compared to Europeans and is diagnosed at an earlier age," Mostafa said in a statement. "We are trying to explain reasons why this occurs beyond the well known risk factors of diet and physical activity. Our study suggests the main measures of glucose used in diagnosis of type 2 Diabetes are all higher in South Asians independent of risk factors which cause diabetes such as obesity, blood pressure, smoking and gender. This may explain why diabetes diagnosis is higher in South Asians but more research is required."
The findings suggest South Asians should be monitored closely for type 2 diabetes, Mostafa said.