Obesity is closely linked the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D), a leading cause of death worldwide. Within low-to-middle income countries, the projected increase in T2D from 2010 to 2030 is estimated to be as high as 69% compared to 20% in high income countries. T2D is more prevalent in populations of African-origin than white populations, irrespective of the Global Human Development Index of the country. Black patients with T2D also have higher rates of associated morbidities, and are 2-3 times more likely to die from these diseases than their white counterparts. Within South Africa, there is a high prevalence of T2D, particularly in black African urban-dwelling populations, which has increased significantly over the past 20 years. Higher prevalence rates are found in women compared to men. The aim of the ongoing and planned studies is to increase the understanding of the ethnic differences in development of T2D and associated disorders in South Africa and how treatment and prevention can be developed to reduce the risk of a further increase in adverse health.