October 5, 2017 | 1:20 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
Stream: Public Health
Type 2 Diabetes in Canadian Aboriginal Youth: A Public Health Crisis?
Dr. Shelley Spurr, Dr. Jill Bally, and Dr. Carol Bullin, College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK
Background: An estimated 422 million people worldwide were living with diabetes in 2014; this represents a four-fold increase over the estimated 108 million in 1980, and this number is expected to climb to 552 million by 2030. Type 2 diabetes has become increasingly prevalent in children and youth, and Canadian Aboriginal (First Nation, Metis, and Inuit) children are disproportionately affected by diabetes and related complications which are emerging as serious public health concerns. Although a number of studies have examined the projected incidence rates and potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes in the adolescent population, the true prevalence rate of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is underestimated.
Purpose: To investigate the risk factors and prevalence rates of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes among northern Canadian Aboriginal adolescents.
Methods: In this novel quantitative study, 160 high school students (aged 13-20) from three northern, predominantly Canadian Aboriginal communities were screened for risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Screening included demographic data, family history, anthropometrical measurements, blood pressure, and A1C.
Results: At least half of the adolescents presented with multiple risk factors for type 2 diabetes including Aboriginal ancestry, family history, overweight/obesity, and hypertension. In this sample, 10% had an A1C greater than 5.7%, 22.5% were overweight, 17.5% were obese, and 26.6% had hypertension or prehypertension.
Conclusions: Prediabetes is emerging as a serious health concern for young Aboriginal Canadians. What is troubling is that prediabetes and type 2 diabetes result from modifiable risk factors. These findings underscore the necessity for early screening of Aboriginal youth for both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Recommendations toward positive health outcomes include interventions that are specific to the modifiable risk factors (overweight/obesity and hypertension). This has the potential to prevent the progression to diabetes and reduce complications related to type 2 diabetes.