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Genetics May Play a Role in Diabetes Prevalence in African-Americans

separator A recent study has shown that children who have “genetic markers” of African descent are more likely to have what’s known as insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance are at increased risk of diabetes. In fact, insulin resistance is considered by many to be a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

The study analyzed a group of 120 children, ages 5 to 16, and looked for 20 genetic markers that are found in people of African descent more than in people of European descent. The bodies of children who had the most African markers responded less well to insulin.

It’s long been known that African-American children are more likely to be insulin resistant, but researchers weren’t sure whether this was due to environmental factors or to genetics. This study indicates that genetics seems to have an influence on the way the body produces and uses insulin.

Diabetes, April 2003
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