Scientists in Canada have reported that the Inuit population in the country are not immune to the problems of obesity and type 2 diabetes as was previously thought, but that the changing climate and less traditional lifestyle and diet had taken away any protection they might have had.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that the view that the Inuit of Canada, Alaska and Greenland did not have the challenges to their health from obesity and diabetes was wrong, as diabetes is at about the same level as that of the rest of the population.
The team examined data from a study of almost 2,600 Canadian Inuit, showing that 1.9 per cent of those under the age of 50 had diabetes, that 12.2 per cent of people aged 50 and over had the condition, and also that 35 per cent of the Inuit were obese, all results that were similar to the rest of the Canadian population.
Grace Egeland, lead author on the study, commented “Stories (that) the Inuit were protected against diabetes go way back in time, and particularly the 1970s.”
She added “With westernization and rapid changes in the Arctic, we’re finding they’re at basically the same risk as general Canadians.”

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