According to a US study, Latinos are more vulnerable to the most common form of diabetes because of how they store fat and produce insulin.
Latinos are more likely to store fat in the pancreas and less able to compensate by excreting additional insulin, said the study by experts at the Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles.
The Type 2 diabetes study compared white, black and Latino patients, similarly overweight and with similar prediabetic symptoms.
Lidia Szczepaniak of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and Biomedical Imaging Research Institute said some people are at increased risk because their fatty pancreas is unable to secrete enough insulin.
"In our study, we found Latinos were especially vulnerable, as they tended to store more fat in the pancreas and their compensatory insulin secretion was entirely suppressed," she said.
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, while an estimated 79 million Americans are prediabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of heart disease and stroke, according to figures cited by Cedars-Sinai.
"Prevention of diabetes is our goal," said Richard Bergman, a lead author on the new study. "Not all people who are overweight or obese and who have insulin resistance go on to develop diabetes.
"If we can determine who is most likely to develop diabetes and why, then we can make strides toward preventing it in those individuals," he added.