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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 15:46 GMT
Health warning for Asian snacks
Delicious, popular - but unhealthy
Health chiefs are warning the Asian community about the health risks of their favourite foods.

They are concerned that too many people are feasting on tasty, but unhealthy snacks such as samosas.

And they believe this is a major reason why diabetes and heart disease are increasing in cities with large Asian populations.

In Birmingham, health workers are visiting Sikh temples to issue warnings, and offer health checks.

Diabetes among the city's Sikhs is now three times higher than within the white European population - and heart disease is one-and-a-half times more prevalent.

Rishpal Chana, an Aston-based health visitor for Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust, has found that nearly a third of those weighed and checked in the Sikh gurdwaras need immediate help from a GP.

Samosas, and other traditional foods from the sub-continent such as pakora and bhajis, are packed with fat.

Ms Chana said: "Samosas are one of the worst foods you can eat and I am trying to get people to eat less of them or cook them with olive oil instead of ghee.

"The Asian diet is very fattening because a lot of the food is fried in this way, yet people don't realise just how bad for you they are."

Ms Chana said just one samosa had 25 grams of fat - the same as a large slab of butter.

Blood pressure and blood sugar tests are being offered in the temples on Sundays when they are at their busiest.


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