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07-09-2011 | Diabetes | Article

Rise in diabetes among Canadian Aborigines has slowed


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MedWire News: Diabetes rates have risen more slowly in the Aboriginal population than in the population as a whole in Canada in recent years, although both the prevalence and incidence remain higher among Aborigines, research shows.

The study, led by Richard Oster (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada), reports on analyses of the Alberta Health and Wellness administrative databases for Aboriginal people and members of the general public, aged 20 years and older, who were diagnosed with diabetes between 1995 and 2007.

Oster and team calculated the incidence and prevalence of diabetes and mortality rate ratios by age, sex, and ethnicity and examined the average relative changes per year for longitudinal trends.

The researchers report that, throughout the study period, the prevalence and incidence of diabetes were higher in the Aboriginal population than in the general population, with the prevalence reaching 13.5% versus 6.0%, and the incidence 11.1% versus 6.5%, by 2007.

However, the average relative change per year in the age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of diabetes was less pronounced in the Aboriginal population (2.39% vs 4.09%).

A similar finding was observed for the relative change per year of diabetes incidence (1.21% vs 4.55%).

The authors also found that mortality rates were higher in the Aboriginal population, both among people with and without diabetes.

However, while mortality in individuals with diabetes decreased similarly over time in both populations, for those without diabetes it only decreased in the general population, by 1.92%, whereas it remained unchanged in the Aboriginal population.

"The decreases in mortality observed among status Aboriginal adults with diabetes over the study period are consistent with findings from a recent study of ours showing improved diabetes-related health among status Aboriginal adults in Alberta," write the researchers.

However, they say the lack of improvement in mortality among nondiabetic Aboriginal adults necessitates further investigation.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sally Robertson