Prevalence of type 2 diabetes and obesity in two Chilean aboriginal populations living in urban zones
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Background: The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors is increasing in aboriginal populations in Chile. Aim: To study the prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes and serum lipids in two aboriginal populations, Mapuche and Aymara, that were transferred from a rural to a urban environment. Subjects and Methods: Two groups of subjects over 20 years were analyzed, Mapuche and Aymara. The Mapuche group was formed by 42 men and 105 women, living in four urban communities of Santiago, and an Aymara group formed by 42 men and 118 women, living in Arica, in Northern Chile. Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure, lipid profile, oral glucose tolerance test, fasting insulin and serum leptin were determined. Results: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was 6.9% in Aymara and 8.2% in Mapuche subjects. The frequency of glucose intolerance was similar in both groups, but greater among men. A total blood cholesterol over 200 mg/dl was observed in 43.1% of Aymara and 27.9% of Mapuche subjects (p < 0.008). Serum triglycerides over 150 mg/dl were observed in 16.9 and 23.1% of Aymara and Mapuche individuals, respectively (p = NS). Conclusions: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia in urban aboriginal populations is higher than that of their rural counterparts. A possible explanation for these results are changes in lifestyles that come along with urbanization, characterized by a high consumption of saturated fat and refined sugars and a low level of physical activity.