Background: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is turning out to be a global health crisis.
Currently available literature clearly indicates an increased risk of type 2 diabetes amongst South
Objective: The objective of this narrative review is to explore the non-modifiable and modifiable risk
factors of T2DM in South Asian population, including their beliefs, attitudes, socio economic and cultural
barriers and also to explore the possible implications in designing culture specific diabetes prevention
and management programs.
Methods: This narrative review is based upon the data from individual studies and review article
known to the authors. Additional relevant studies were identified through PubMed search on Englishlanguage
papers published in 2000-2017 using the relevant keywords. Where appropriate, the reference
lists of key papers were reviewed to identify additional studies of interest.
Results: Many genetic and environmental risk factors such as diet, physical inactivity, and sleep contribute
to the increased prevalence of diabetes in the ethnic group. Providing mere knowledge about
diabetes and these risk factors might not be sufficient in this particular ethnic group. It is essential to
address their beliefs, attitudes and the cultural barriers faced.
Conclusion: To overcome the health disparity in the South Asian ethnic group, various risk factors
associated with diabetes, and the challenges faced are to be considered while designing future diabetes
prevention and management strategies.