Aims/hypothesis: In 1993, the prevalence of glucose intolerance was studied in a sample of 647 first-generation and second-generation Japanese-Brazilians. Their cohort was followed until 2000, when a second survey was conducted, this included the first and second generations, aged 30 or more years. The aims were to estimate the prevalence of glucose intolerance and 7-yr incidence of Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus in this population.
Methods: Prevalence rates were obtained for 1330 subjects examined in 2000. The incidence of diabetes mellitus was calculated for those classified as normal glucose tolerant in 1993 (n=253). A Student's t test and the Cox proportional hazard model were used in data analysis.
Results: In the year 2000, higher proportions of subjects were observed in all categories of glucose intolerance than those found in 1993. The overall incidence of diabetes was 30.9 per 1000 per year. A worse profile was observed among incident cases of diabetes, characterized by higher baseline values of anthropometric and metabolic variables as compared to those who had not developed diabetes. Analysis considering the simultaneous effects of demographic, nutritional and metabolic variables and physical activity levels for the development of diabetes showed that age, sex, waist circumference, fasting and 2-h plasma glucose concentrations were independent predictors.
Conclusion/interpretation: Our data point towards a worsening of glucose tolerance status among Japanese-Brazilians, who show one of the highest prevalence rates of diabetes mellitus worldwide. This could reflect their strong genetic susceptibility associated with unfavourable environmental conditions.