Hypertriglyceridemic-waist phenotype and glucose intolerance among Canadian Inuit: the International Polar Year Inuit Health Survey for Adults 2007-2008

Egeland, Grace M.; Zhirong Cao; T. Kue Young
June 2011
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;6/14/2011, Vol. 183 Issue 9, p1022
Academic Journal
Background: Inuit have not experienced an epidemic in type 2 diabetes mellitus, and it has been speculated that they may be protected from obesity's metabolic consequences. We conducted a population-based screening for diabetes among Inuit in the Canadian Arctic and evaluated the association of visceral adiposity with diabetes. Methods: A total of 36 communities participated in the International Polar Year Inuit Health Survey. Of the 2796 Inuit households approached, 1901 (68%) participated, with 2595 participants. Households were randomly selected, and adult residents were invited to participate. Assessments included anthropometry and fasting plasma lipids and glucose, and, because of survey logistics, only 32% of participants underwent a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test. We calculated weighted prevalence estimates of metabolic risk factors for all participants. Results: Participants' mean age was 43.3 years; 35% were obese, 43.8% had an at-risk waist, and 25% had an elevated triglycéride level. Diabetes was identified in 12.2% of participants aged 50 years and older and in 1.9% of those younger than 50 years. A hypertriglyceridemic- waist phenotype was a strong predictor of diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 8.6, 95% confidence interval [Cl] 2.1-34.6) in analyses adjusted for age, sex, region, family history of diabetes, education and use of lipid-lowering medications. Interpretation: Metabolic risk factors were prevalent among Inuit. Our results suggest that Inuit are not protected from the metabolic consequences of obesity, and that their rate of diabetes prevalence is now comparable to that observed in the general Canadian population. Assessment of waist circumference and fasting triglycéride levels could represent an efficient means for identifying Inuit at high risk for diabetes.


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