Prevalence of type 2 diabetes increases in First Nations population

A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has revealed that the incidence of type 2 diabetes in First Nations people - those of Aboriginal descent - is greatly increasing. Men and women from this background were 2.5 and 4 times more likely to have diabetes than people in other regions.

“Diabetes is a disease of young First Nations adults with a marked predilection for women,” writes Dr Ronald Dyck, the study’s lead author. He added that the condition was most prevalent in females between the ages of 20 and 49.

Several suggestions were made by the authors as to why type 2 diabetes seemed to target women from this ethnic group. One reason may be that rates of obesity, as well as gestational diabetes, have increased in this population over the past few decades. Gestational diabetes may also be linked to an increase in type 2 diabetes in these women’s children.

The researchers believe that these trends will continue as the youths grow into adults, and they urge preventative efforts that target women, children and adolescents.

They also note that the rapid appearance of diabetes in this population has been precipitated by environmental factors, not genetics, and that the solution lies in public health and community initiatives.