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Diabetes in Canada: Highlights from the National Diabetes Surveillance System, 2004-2005

Diabetes Among First Nations Peoples

Previous research shows that diabetes is more common among the First Nations Peoples than non-First Nations populations. Special studies were conducted through agreements with the British Columbia First Nations Chiefs representing the Status Indian population in that province, and the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of Eeyou Istchee (James Bay, Quebec), to quantify how common diabetes is among these two populations.

British Columbia First Nations Peoples Aged 20 Years and Older

The Chiefs' Health Committee in British Columbia entered into a partnership with the British Columbia government to conduct a special analysis of the NDSS for British Columbia First Nations adults.

  • In 2001-2002, according to the NDSS data, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes was 7%.
  • Between 1997-1998 and 2001-2002 diabetes prevalence among British Columbia First Nations men and women increased by about 30%. (Figure 10)
  • The British Columbia First Nations adult population was on average, younger than that of other British Columbia residents. After adjusting for this difference, between 1998-1999 and 1999-2000, the age-standardized rate of new cases of diagnosed diabetes was 25% higher in the British Columbia First Nations adults than other British Columbia residents. (Figure 11)
  • Among the non First Nations population, men had a higher prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in 2001-2002 than women. In contrast, there was little difference in prevalence between men and women in British Columbia First Nations adults. (Figure 12)
  • Overall diabetes was 1.7 times higher among First Nations women than other women BC residents, and about 2 times higher among women in their 50's. (Figure 12 and Figure 13)
  • Among younger individuals (below age 30), the prevalence of diabetes is similar for both the British Columbia First Nations population and other BC residents. (Figure 13) After this age the rates deviate, and are about 1.5 times higher among the British Columbia First Nations population by age 45.

James Bay Cree Population Adults Aged 20 Years and Older

The James Bay Cree population in Northern Québec has a Cree Diabetes Information System with information on clients from and services provided in their communities. They entered into a research agreement with the Québec government to use the Québec NDSS to link their database to include services provided outside their communities.

  • In 2001-2002, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among the James Bay Cree adult population was 15.1%.
  • The age-standardized prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among the James Bay Cree has increased by 29% between 1997-1998 and 2001-2002. (Figure 14)
  • Among the James Bay Cree population, women had a higher prevalence than men of diagnosed diabetes at all ages. (Figure 14)
  • Among the James Bay Cree population, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes increased steadily from age 20 to 29 and peaked among men and women in their 50's and 60's, as shown in Figure 15. In contrast, among the Canadian general population the prevalence of diabetes did not increase, markedly, until age 45 to 49. (Figure 1)
  • The much higher rate of diagnosed diabetes among the James Bay Cree adult population (15.1%) compared to the British Columbia First Nations adult population (7%) may reflect, in part, a more complete counting of adults with diabetes because of the addition of the data from the community clinical setting or may reflect greater genetic susceptibility, among the Cree population, to diabetes or other factors.



Figure 10. Age-Standardized Prevalence Rates* of Diagnosed Diabetes Among Adults Aged 20 and Older, BC First Nations Residents, British Columbia, 1997-1998 to 2001-2002

Figure 10. Age-Standardized Prevalence Rates* of Diagnosed Diabetes Among Adults Aged 20 and Older, BC First Nations Residents, British Columbia, 1997-1998 to 2001-2002



Figure 11. Age-Standardized Incidence Rates* of Newly Diagnosed Diabetes Among BC First Nations Women and Men, Aged 20 and Older, With Diabetes Compared to Other BC Residents, British Columbia, Aggregate: 1998-1999 and 1999-2000

Figure 11. Age-Standardized Incidence Rates* of Newly Diagnosed Diabetes Among BC First Nations Women and Men, Aged 20 and Older, With Diabetes Compared to Other BC Residents, British Columbia, Aggregate: 1998-1999 and 1999-2000



Figure 12. Age-Standardized Prevalence Rates* of Diagnosed Diabetes Among BC First Nations Adults Aged 20 and Older Compared to Other BC Residents, British Columbia, 2001-2002

Figure 12.  Age-Standardized Prevalence Rates* of Diagnosed Diabetes Among BC First Nations Adults Aged 20 and Older Compared to Other BC Residents, British Columbia, 2001-2002



Figure 13. Age-Specific Prevalence Rates of Diagnosed Diabetes Among BC First Nations Adults Aged 20 and Older Compared to Other BC Residents, British Columbia, 2001-2002

Figure 13. Age-Specific Prevalence Rates of Diagnosed Diabetes Among BC First Nations Adults Aged 20 and Older Compared to Other BC Residents, British Columbia, 2001-2002



Figure 14. Age-Standardized Prevalence Rates* of Diagnosed Diabetes Among Adults Aged 20 and Older, James Bay Cree, Quebec, 1997-1998 to 2001-2002

Figure 14. Age-Standardized Prevalence Rates* of Diagnosed Diabetes Among Adults Aged 20 and Older, James Bay Cree, Quebec, 1997-1998 to 2001-2002



Figure 15. Age-Specific Prevalence Rates of Diagnosed Diabetes Among Adults Aged 20 and Older, James Bay Cree, Quebec, 1997-1998 to 2001-2002

Figure 15. Age-Specific Prevalence Rates of Diagnosed Diabetes Among Adults Aged 20 and Older, James Bay Cree, Quebec, 1997-1998 to 2001-2002