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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 139-144

Diabetes prevalence and demographics in 25 First Nations communities in northwest Ontario (2014–2017)

1 Sioux Lookout First, Nations Health Authority, Ontario, Canada
2 Division of Nephrology, U of T Associate Scientist, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto; Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3 Division of Clinical Sciences, Northern Ontario School of Medicine at Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre; Section of infectious diseases, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada
4 Public Health and Preventative Medicine Specialist, Sioux Look-out First Nations Health Authority, Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada
5 Division of Clinical Sciences, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Thunder Bay, Canada
6 Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
MD, MClin Sci, FCFP, FRRM Len Kelly
Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, Ontario
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CJRM.CJRM_99_19

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Introduction: First Nations communities are known to have high rates of diabetes. The rural First Nations communities in northwest (NW) Ontario are particularly affected. Regional studies in 1985 and 1994 found a high prevalence of diabetes. More recently, they are estimated to have the highest prevalence in Ontario at 19%, double the provincial norm. The purpose of this study is to examine the epidemiology and prevalence of diabetes in the total population and cardiovascular comorbidities in the adult population of 25 First Nations communities in NW Ontario. Methods: This retrospective diabetes prevalence study used primary care electronic medical record data for a 3-year period, 1 August 2014–31 July 2017. Diabetes prevalence was calculated for both the total and the adult (18+) populations and comorbid hypertension and dyslipidaemia were identified in adults. Results: The age-adjusted diabetes prevalence for the total population was 15.1% versus a Canadian prevalence of 8.8%. The age-adjusted adult prevalence was 14.1%, double Canada's average of 7.1%. The average age of adults with diabetes was 52 years (±14.9); 57% were female. Comorbid hypertension (58%) and dyslipidaemia (73%) were common. Metformin was the most commonly used medication (58%), followed by insulin/analogues (23%) and sulphonylureas (13%). Conclusion: The diabetes prevalence in the First Nations population of NW Ontario is double Canada's norm. Addressing it will require addressing relevant social determinants of health, including poverty and food security.

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