Objective— To estimate the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives served by the IHS.

Research Design and Methods— This was a cross-sectional study of the 1987 IHS national outpatient data base.

Results— Prevalence rates of diagnosed diabetes determined from the IHS outpatient data base were consistent with recent studies of diabetes in different IHS areas. IHS-wide, age-adjusted prevalence was 69/100,000, or 2.8 times the U.S. rate. There was considerable variation in prevalence rates of diabetes throughout the country, with rates ranging from 15.3/100,000 in Alaska to 119.2/100,000 in southern Arizona.

Conclusions— This study documented the high prevalence of diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives and the wide variation in rates between different tribal groups. This study also demonstrated the feasibility of using an outpatient data base to estimate rates of disease that have uniform methods of diagnosis and result in frequent clinic visits.

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