OBJECTIVES: To examine the association between the content of n-3 fatty acids and insulin resistance in an Inuit population. STUDY DESIGN: The Inuit Health in Transition Study was carried out between 2003 and 2007 in Greenland as a cross-sectional study. Our preliminary results are based on the first 452 participants aged 18 and above. Only participants with at least 1 Inuit grandparent and without diabetes were included. METHODS: The contents of n-3 fatty acids and the n-3/n-6 ratio were measured in the erythrocyte membrane phospholipids. BMI was calculated and questions concerning diabetes and ethnicity were answered. Insulin resistance was estimated using the HOMA-IR index based on fasting-glucose and fasting-insulin. RESULTS: We found an inverse association between C20:5 n-3 (EPA), C22:3 n-3, the n-3/n-6 ratio and HOMA-IR and a positive association between C18:3 n-3 cis and HOMA-IR. When adjusted for age, gender, BMI and ethnicity, the association remained statistically significant for C20:5 n-3 (EPA), C22:3 n-3 and C18:3 n-3 cis. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that some types of n-3 fatty acids may have a protective effect against insulin resistance. The role of potential confounders such as physical activity, diet, energy intake, socio-economic status and contaminants deserves further exploration.
BACKGROUND: The association between obesity and cardiovascular disease risk differs across populations. Whether such differences in obesity-related risk factors exist within population groups of the same genetic origin but with differences in lifestyle remains to be determined. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to analyze whether obesity was associated with the same degree of metabolic disturbances in 2 groups of genetically homogeneous Inuit who were exposed to considerable differences in lifestyle. DESIGN: We studied obesity and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a cross-sectional population survey of 2311 Inuit living in Denmark (n = 995) or Greenland (n = 1316). The participants received an oral-glucose-tolerance test. Blood tests were supplemented by structured interviews and anthropometric and blood pressure measurements. RESULTS: The trend in the association between obesity and metabolic effects was not significantly different in the Inuit populations, but the values of several risk factors were significantly different. At any given level of obesity, Inuit residents in Greenland had lower blood pressure and lower concentrations of triacylglycerol and postchallenge plasma glucose and insulin than did the Inuit migrants in Denmark. The trend in the association with obesity categories was different only for HDL cholesterol, with higher concentrations observed in women Inuit migrants in Denmark than in women Inuit residents in Greenland. CONCLUSIONS: The health risk associated with obesity clearly varies within groups of Inuit living in Greenland and Inuit migrants living in Denmark. The findings indicate that lifestyle factors modify the cardiovascular disease risk associated with obesity.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to predict the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and the associated burden to the health care system in Greenland posed by diabetic complications by 2014. The predictions were based on changes in demographic variables and obesity. STUDY DESIGN: Projection model based on two cross-sectional population surveys from 1993 and 1999. METHODS: The development in BMI was described and projected to 2014 under two assumptions: 1) distribution of BMI is constant from 1999, and 2) the trend in BMI found in the surveys will continue until 2014. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was predicted under these assumptions and based on the observed association between BMI and type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of complications was estimated using the 2nd assumption, as was the prevalence of hypertension, dyslipidemia, Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) and stroke in the non-diabetic population in 2014. RESULTS: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was not predicted to increase by 2014 under the 1st assumption. It was predicted to increase from 11% to 23% for women, but not for men under the 2nd assumption. Approximately half of the cases of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors predicted by 2014 were attributable to diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was predicted to increase in Greenland, and the number of complications was predicted to double from 1999 to 2014. Both prophylactic and treatment initiatives are needed to deal with the extra burden posed by type 2 diabetes to the Greenlandic health care system in 2014.