A Comparison of the Metabolic Response to Abdominal Obesity in Two Canadian Inuit and First Nations Population
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Inuit and Cree populations are known for high obesity rates despite markedly different rates of type 2 diabetes (T2DM). To document this apparent discrepancy we evaluated the impact of body size parameters and fasting insulin (FI) on several T2DM risk factors among Inuit and Cree populations (Québec, Canada). A total of 1,104 adults (≥18 years) Inuit and Cree individuals participated in a cross-sectional investigation. Interestingly, across both genders, across all levels of waist circumference (WC), Inuit showed lower levels of FI (age-adjusted, P < 0.0001) and fasting glucose (P < 0.0001) than Cree individuals. In both groups, a comparison of multi-sample structural equation models confirmed the predominant influence of WC on other traditional risk factors, compared to BMI. A preponderant direct impact of WC was observed on blood pressure (BP) parameters (P < 0.0001), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (P < 0.0001), and FI (P < 0.0001). Fasting glucose level appear to be influenced by WC via FI in both ethnic groups (P < 0.0001), while triacylglycerol (TAG) level was predominantly impacted by WC via FI, but only in Cree individuals (P < 0.0001). The main ethnic difference found was the strength of the impact of WC on FI, which was considerably higher among the Cree (λ = 2.4, P < 0.0001) than the Inuit (λ = 1.8, P < 0.0001). These results confirm the predominant role of abdominal adiposity in the complex and tenuous links of different traditional T2DM determinants. However, the ethnic difference in the impact of abdominal obesity on insulin levels across all WCs needs to be explored further.
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