HealthDay News — Diabetes is more widespread among descendants of Canada’s First Nations people than among the general population, according to a study published online September 19 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

To gauge Canadians’ lifetime risk of diabetes, researchers looked at about 2.8 million people who did not have diabetes. Of these, 70 631 were First Nations people, and 2 732 214 were part of Alberta’s general population.

More than 2.25 million people in Canada have diabetes. Nine of 10 First Nations women will develop diabetes, as will 7 of 10 First Nations men. In the general population, men have a greater diabetes risk than women. First Nations people are also likely to be diagnosed with diabetes much earlier in life, the researchers found. First Nations women develop diabetes 30 years before other women; First Nations men develop it 20 years before other Canadian men.

“These findings, coupled with the observations that younger people had a higher lifetime risk of diabetes than their older counterparts, indicate the importance of early mobilization of preventive measures against the development of diabetes among First Nations people,” the researchers wrote.

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  1. Turin TC, Saad N, Jun M, et al. Lifetime risk of diabetes among First Nations and non-First Nations people. CMAJ. 2016. doi:10.1503/cmaj.150787.