A successful diabetes prevention study in Eskimos: the Alaska Siberia project

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Ebbesson, Sven O. E. ; Ebbesson, Lars O. E. ; Swenson, Michael ; Kennish, John M. ; Robbins, David C. (2005)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v64i4.18017
  • Subject: blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, Inuit, omega-3 fatty acids, palmitic acid

Objectives. To test the efficacy of a simple intervention method to reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes (DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Alaskan Eskimos. Study Design. The study consisted of 1) a comprehensive screening for risk factors of 454 individuals in 4 villages, 2) a 4-year intervention and 3) a repetition of the screening in year 5 to test the efficacy of the intervention. Methods. Personal counseling (1hr/year) stressed the consumption of more traditional foods high in ω-3 fatty acids and less of certain specific store-bought foods high in palmitic acid, which was identified as being associated with glucose intolerance. Results. The intervention resulted in significant reductions in plasma concentrations of total cholesterol (p = 0.0001), LDL cholesterol (p = 0.0001), fasting glucose (p = 0.0001), diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.0007) and improved glucose tolerance (p = 0.0006). This occurred without loss of body weight. Sixty percent of the participants had improved glucose tolerance; only one of the 44 originally identified with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) developed DM during the study. Conclusions. Dramatic improvements of risk factors for DM and CVD were achieved in the intervention by primarily stressing the need for changes in the consumption of specific fats. The results suggest that fat consumption is an important risk factor for DM.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2005; 64(4):409-424)Keywords: blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, Inuit, omega-3 fatty acids, palmitic acid
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