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Int J Circumpolar Health. 2003 Dec;62(4):363-87.

Diabetes among Alaska Natives: a review.

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  • 1Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, Alaska, USA.


This review summarizes the published information on diabetes mellitus and gestational diabetes among Alaska Natives. The most recently published age-adjusted prevalence was 28.3/1000 in 1998. There is evidence of a steadily increasing prevalence, documented both by cross sectional screening studies and patient registry methods. The overall incidence rates in 1986-1998 of lower extremity amputation (6.1/1000) and renal replacement therapy (2.1/1000) appear to be lower than those in other Native American populations in the United States. Incidence of stroke and MI in 1986-1998 varied widely by ethnic group and gender with Eskimo women having the highest rate of stroke (19.6/1000), and Aleut men the highest rate of MI (14/1000). The overall mortality among diabetic Alaska Native people in 1986-1993 (43.2/1000) was somewhat lower than that in other US diabetic populations, with heart disease being the most common cause of death. A high rate of gestational diabetes (6.7%) was reported in one region in 1987-88, but this appeared to decline following nutritional education intervention. In screening studies, the prevalence of abnormal glucose tolerance has been found to be positively associated with body mass index and negatively associated with daily seal oil or salmon consumption and higher levels of physical activity. Observations on the prevalence and relationships among other factors in the insulin resistance syndrome are summarized. Suggestions for prevention of diabetes and further studies are presented.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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