Canada has one of the highest rates of diabetes among OECD countries.

Canada has one of the highest rates of diabetes among OECD countries.
Photo Credit: Joerg Sarbach/Associated Press

Diabetes risk among Indigenous people ‘staggering’: study


A new study suggests eight out of every ten young, Indigenous people in Canada will develop Type 2 diabetes and half of young, non-Indigenous Canadians will develop the disease in their lifetimes.

“The numbers we find are staggering and concerning,” said Dr. Tanvin Chowdhury Turin in an interview reported by CBC. Turin was a co-author of the study which looked at the health records of 2.8 million people over 20 years.

Indigenous people living in rural areas had a higher risk of developing the disease than did Indigenous people living in urban areas. The onset of diabetes was earlier among Aboriginal people than among non-Aboriginal Canadians.

It is very expensive to ship fresh food to remote aboriginal communities, making it inaccessible to poorer people.
It is very expensive to ship fresh food to remote aboriginal communities, making it inaccessible to poorer people. © Serena LeBlanc

Many risk factors

It’s believed the differences in the rates may be due to genetic susceptibility, changes in diet, sedentary lifestyles and increased rates of obesity. CBC reports that Spenta Mazkoori, a dietitian at the Anishnawbe Health clinic in Toronto cited a lack of access to healthy, affordable food, poverty among the reasons for high rates of diabetes among Indigenous peoples along with a high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.

Canada has one of highest rates

A study in 2015 found Canada has one of the highest rates of diabetes among OECD countries and that it performs poorly in managing the risk factors of diet, obesity and levels of physical activity.

Categories: Health, Indigenous, Society
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2 comments on “Diabetes risk among Indigenous people ‘staggering’: study
  1. I have been to nearly every large first Nation community in northern Canada except Quebec who have a different Phone company.All the rest are serviced by the same one. It is their diet. Junk food is subsidized (pop chips choclate bars)Good food is way to expensive to buy. A
    gift from us.

  2. Avatar BaldurDasche says:

    A waste of resources. The results of this study have been evident from studies done on native Americans 40 years ago. The focus of this study should be, Why were those results not applied in Canadian treatment? Nobody read their literature up here? Or does the Diabetes Foundation just have too much research money?

    How may people have died because if this ignorance?