Clearer evidence needed on exercise interventions in ethnic minorities with type 2 diabetes.

This systematic review set out to summarise previous trials of aerobic and resistance training.

Clinical question:

In people from an ethnic minority with type 2 diabetes, what programmes are effective

The review was carried out in Australia and included people with African, Indian, Polynesian, Hispanic, Arabian, and Chinese ethnicity. It’s not clear whether the review looked for studies carried out in countries where the participants were an ethnic minority, or whether it also included studies on populations in countries where these ethnicities form the majority.

The evidence:

The reviewers found five randomised trials with 521 participants.

They did not attempt a meta-analysis but report a general consensus towards reductions in HbA1c, insulin action, body composition, blood lipids and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Appraisal hints:

Users of this research should consider:

  • Did they address a clearly focuse question?  How did they define “high risk” patients?  What outcomes were they interested in and did they specify them in advance?
  • Was the search strategy comprehensive enough?
  • Did they carry out blind, independent assessments of the relevance and quality of the individual studies?
  • Heterogeneity.  The study methods, quality, populations, interventions and outcomes were different from study to study:  consider looking for individual high-quality trials in patients similar to yours.


Sukala WR, Page R, Cheema BS. Exercise training in high-risk ethnic populations with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review of clinical trials. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2012 Feb 29.

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I am an information scientist with an interest in making knowledge from systematic research more accessible to people who need it. This means you. I've been attempting this in the area of Evidence-Based Health Care since 1995. So far the results have been mixed. For some reason we expected busy clinicians to search databases and appraise papers instead of seeing patients. We also expected publishers to make the research freely available to the people who paid for it.. Ha! Hence The National Elf service.

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