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Health Educ Res. 2009 Dec;24(6):1051-8. doi: 10.1093/her/cyp064. Epub 2009 Nov 6.

Diabetes awareness and body size perceptions of Cree schoolchildren.

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Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2P5, Canada.


Native American Indians and First Nations are predisposed to obesity and diabetes. A study was done to understand Cree schoolchildren's diabetes awareness and body size perceptions in two communities that had diabetes awareness-raising activities in the Province of Quebec, Canada. Children (N = 203) in grades 4-6 were classified into weight categories using measured heights and weights and grouped on diabetes awareness based on dichotomous responses to the question 'Do you know what diabetes is?' Children selected a drawing of an American Indian child whom they felt most likely to get diabetes and described their body size perception using a closed response question. Although 64.5% of children were overweight or obese, most (60.1%) children considered their body size to be 'just right', with 29.6% considering it 'too big' and 10.3% considering it 'too small'. A minority (27.6%) of children had diabetes awareness. These children were more likely than children without diabetes awareness to consider their body size too big (42.9 versus 24.5%) and to choose an obese drawing as at risk for diabetes (85.7 versus 63.3%, odds ratio 3.48 and 95% confidence interval 1.53-7.91). Culturally appropriate health education programs to increase schoolchildren's diabetes awareness and possibility to have a healthy body weight are important.

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