To compare the prevalence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) in the two largest Algonquin communities of Quebec (Canada) with that of other native groups and to describe the different patterns of NIDDM and other cardiovascular risk markers in these communities (River Desert [RD] and Lac Simon [LS]).


The population-based study targeted all residents aged 15 years and older. In the age-group considered here (30-64 years), there were 480 eligible subjects and 299 participants (50.8% in RD and 86.9% in LS). All except those with confirmed diabetes underwent an oral glucose tolerance test. Serum triglyceride and lipoprotein cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were measured.


The age-standardized (world population) prevalence of NIDDM in women was twice as high in LS as in RD (48.6% vs. 23.9%). In men, it was 23.9% in LS and 16.3% in RD. Upper-body obesity followed the same pattern. In contrast, high-risk serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels were significantly more prevalent in RD than in LS, particularly among men. The rate of high blood pressure was twice as high in men as in women, with little community differences. When we controlled for age, sex, diabetic, and obesity status, mean fasting serum glucose remained significantly higher triglycerides and LDL cholesterol lower in LS than in RD. There was also an independent community effect on WHR but no on BMI.


The prevalence of NIDDM in LS women reaches the rate observed in Pima Indian women. The observed differences between two Algonquin communities suggest a highly heterogeneous pattern of NIDDM and cardiovascular disease risk factors in Amerindian populations, even within a given tribe and a limited geographic area.

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