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Soc Sci Med. 1987;24(10):791-804.

Dietary change and plasma glucose levels in an Amerindian population undergoing cultural transition.


Dietary change among adult Dogrib Indians of the Northwest Territories, Canada, is examined in conjunction with differences in mean glucose levels among more acculturated-less acculturated settlements. There are significant differences in the intake components derived from non-traditional foods by community and by age. However, the traditional food base is stable. This pattern suggests that dietary acculturation may initially consist of the addition of new foods to a stable traditional dietary, rather than replacement of traditional foods. The net effect is an increase in caloric intake. Age-sex-adjusted plasma glucose levels among four Dogrib settlements did not differ significantly. Comparison of participants who had been tested in a 1979 investigation of glucose tolerance showed that the current lack of intervillage differences can be attributed to an unexplained decrease of mean plasma glucose in the most acculturated village. Either dietary shift does not influence glucose levels, or, its effect can be detected only in conjunction with some other environmental factor. Among the Dogrib, acculturation-associated dietary changes are clearly present. However, their role in influencing plasma glucose levels still needs to be demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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