Epidemiology of diabetes mellitus among First Nations and non-First Nations adults

Dyck, Roland; Osgood, Nathaniel; Ting Hsiang Lin; Amy Gao; Stang, Mary Rose
February 2010
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;2/23/2010, Vol. 182 Issue 3, p249
Academic Journal
Background: First Nations people in Canada experience a disproportionate burden of type 2 diabetes mellitus. To increase our understanding of this evolving epidemic, we compared the epidemiology of diabetes between First Nations and non-First Nations adults in Saskatchewan from 1980 to 2005. Methods: We used administrative databases to perform a population-based study of diabetes frequency, incidence and prevalence in adults by ethnic background, year, age and sex. Results: We identified 8275 First Nations and 82 306 non- First Nations people with diabetes from 1980 to 2005. Overall, the incidence and prevalence of diabetes were more than 4 times higher among First Nations women than among non-First Nations women and more than 2.5 times higher among First Nations men than among non-First Nations men. The number of incident cases of diabetes was highest among First Nations people aged 40-49 ,while the number among non-First Nations people was greatest in those aged 70 or more years. The prevalence of diabetes increased over the study period from 9.5% to 20.3% among First Nations women and from 4.9% to 16.0% among First Nations men. Among non-First Nations people, the prevalence increased from 2.0% to 5.5% among women and from 2.0% to 6.2% among men. By 2005, almost 50% of First Nations women and more than 40% of First Nations men aged 60 or older had diabetes, compared with less than 25% of non-First Nations men and less than 20% of non-First Nations women aged 80 or older. Interpretation: First Nations adults are experiencing a diabetes epidemic that disproportionately affects women during their reproductive years. This ethnicity-based pattern suggests diverse underlying mechanisms that may include differences in the diabetogenic impact of gestational diabetes.


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