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CMAJ. 2000 Sep 5;163(5):561-6.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus in Canada's first nations: status of an epidemic in progress.

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Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.

Erratum in

  • CMAJ 2000 Oct 31;163(9):1132.


This review provides a status report on the epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus that is affecting many of Canada's First Nations. We focus on the published literature, especially reports published in the past 2 decades, and incorporate data from the Aboriginal Peoples Survey and the First Nations and Inuit Regional Health Survey. We look at the extent and magnitude of the problem, the causes and risk factors, primary prevention and screening, clinical care and education, and cultural concepts and traditional knowledge. The epidemic of type 2 diabetes is still on the upswing, with a trend toward earlier age at onset. Genetic-environmental interactions are the likely cause. Scattered intervention projects have been implemented and evaluated, and some show promise. The current health and social repercussions of the disease are considerable, and the long-term outlook remains guarded. A national Aboriginal diabetes strategy is urgently needed.

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