ISSN No. 1606-7754                   Vol.8 No.2 August 2000

Prevelance of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in Indian migrants in Melbourne, Australia, using fasting plasma glucose

Ibiebele TI1, Wattanapenpaiboon N2, Hsu-Hage BH-H3, Wahlqvist ML1

1International Health & Development Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia., 2Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia., 3Department of Rural Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia



Background: This paper reports the prevalence of NIDDM and its associated risk factors in migrants of Indian ethnic background, who resided in Melbourne, Australia, and were recruited for an Indian Health Study from July 1993 to October 1995. The relationships between fasting plasma glucose and other NIDDM associated factors were investigated, and a comparison of the NIDDM prevalence of this population was made with that of Anglo-Celtic Melbournians.

Methods: A representative group of 297 men and 255 women (aged 25-78 years) was recruited using a method of identification of characteristic surnames in the telephone directory. Participants were considered to be diabetic either if they had been diagnosed by a medical practitioner, regardless whether they were receiving medication for it, or if they had a fasting plasma glucose 7.8 mmol/L.

Results: The prevalence of NIDDM in the Indian Australians was 10.1% for men and 12.2% for women. No significant gender difference was observed in the study population (c 2 test
P = 0.44). The high prevalence of NIDDM of the study population is consistent with the findings of studies of South Asian migrants in other countries. Compared to the Anglo-Celtic population, the prevalence of NIDDM was higher for the Indians. It was also found that fasting plasma glucose was positively associated with age, body fat mass, abdominal circumference, abdomen-to-hip ratio, and fasting insulin, both in men and women.

Conclusions: The Indian migrants in Melbourne, Australia, had a 11.1% prevalence of NIDDM, which was significantly higher than that of the Anglo-Celtic Australians. These findings are in agreement with other studies of South Asian migrants. It is proposed that the mechanism(s) underlying the pathophysiology of the metabolic disturbances in those of Indian ancestry may differ from other ethnic groups, and this may involve the abdominal fat distribution.

Keywords : Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, Indians, South Asians, fasting plasma glucose, cross-sectional study, abdominal obesity

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