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Preventing diabetes in Bangladeshi people in Britain

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 04 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2010
  1. Shifalika Goenka, senior research fellow
  1. 1Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Initiative for Cardiovascular Health Research in the Developing Countries, New Delhi 110016, India
  1. shifalika9{at}

    Education is the key to empowerment and being able to resist cultural norms

    In the linked qualitative study (doi:10.1136/bmj.a1931), Grace and colleagues assess lay beliefs and attitudes, religious teachings, and professional perceptions in relation to the primary prevention of diabetes in socioeconomically deprived British Bangladeshis.1

    Lifestyle changes, in the form of regular exercise and dietary modifications, can prevent 58% of type 2 diabetes in people at high risk.2 South Asians in Europe—people from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka—have a four to six times greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than white Europeans. They also get the disease about 10 years earlier and have higher rates of cardiovascular complications, renal complications, and death. People from Bangladesh are the worst affected,3 so prevention in this group is a public health priority.

    Several characteristics of the socioeconomically deprived migrant south Asian community in Europe have been reported, including being a hard group to reach4; being “fatalistic”; and often blaming their diabetes on migration, stresses, and factors other than diet.5 6 They see a …

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