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Characterizing risk of type 2 diabetes in First Nations people living in First Nations communities in Ontario: a population-based analysis using cross-sectional survey data


Background — Population-based planning tools are important for informing diabetes-prevention efforts in First Nations communities. We used the Diabetes Population Risk Tool (DPoRT) to predict 10-year diabetes risk and describe the factors that contribute to diabetes risk in First Nations adults living in Ontario First Nations communities.

Methods — We examined population data from adult (≥ 20 yr) respondents to the First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) phase 3, a representative cohort of First Nations people living in Ontario First Nations communities. We applied the DPoRT to risk factor information in the survey to predict the distribution of 10-year type 2 diabetes incidence and number of new diabetes cases from 2015/16 to 2025/26.

Results — There were 993 respondents to the RHS phase 3 adult survey, of whom 936 (708 without diabetes and 228 with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes) were eligible for inclusion. The DPoRT predicted a type 2 diabetes risk of 9.6% (confidence interval [CI] 8.3–10.8) between 2015/16 and 2025/26, corresponding to 3501 (95% CI 2653–4348) new diabetes cases. Diabetes cases were predicted to occur disproportionately among those experiencing food insecurity, low income, overweight, obesity and physical inactivity. Reduced diabetes risk was predicted among those who reported connections to Indigenous culture, as measured by eating traditional vegetative foods a few times or often in the previous 12 months.

Interpretation — Socioeconomic conditions and known risk factors for type 2 diabetes are important determinants of diabetes risk in First Nations communities. Culturally appropriate policies, programming and services that address socioeconomic disadvantage and other diabetes risk factors in First Nations communities likely have an important role for diabetes prevention in First Nations adults.



Rosella LC, Kornas K, Green ME, Shah BR, Walker JD, Frymire E, Jones C. CMAJ Open. 2020; 8(1):E178-83. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

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