Rising diabetes, obesity rates may put ethnic groups' heart health at risk

People who come to Canada are generally healthier to begin with but with time may eat more fatty foods, more meat and more processed foods, says Maria Chiu, a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. (Canadian Press)

Heart disease and stroke risks showed "striking differences" for South Asian men, black men and women and Chinese men over a 12-year period, a new Canadian study suggests.

Obesity rates rose among all of the ethnic groups, with the largest relative increase among Chinese men, Maria Chiu, a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto and her team reported in Monday's issue of the journal BMJ Open.

Until now, the overall trends in cardiovascular risk factors in the general population were known, but any differences between ethnic groups hadn't been studied.

Chinese seniors and nursing students meet in health program
Weighty issue for South Asians

The study was based on data from almost 220,000 Ontario residents who responded to Statistics Canada's Canadian Community Health Surveys from 2001 to 2012.

"What we found was that obesity in relative terms increased the most among Chinese men," Chiu said in an interview.

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