Dietary Patterns and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in a First Nations Community

Can J Diabetes. 2016 Aug;40(4):304-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2016.05.001. Epub 2016 Jun 29.


Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a growing concern worldwide, particularly in Indigenous communities, which have undergone a marked nutrition transition characterized by reduced intakes of traditional foods and increased intakes of market foods. Few studies have assessed the relationships between differing dietary patterns and risk for type 2 diabetes in Indigenous communities in Canada. The objective of the study was to characterize dietary patterns using factor analysis (FA) and to relate these patterns to the incidence of type 2 diabetes after 10 years of follow up in a First Nations community in Ontario, Canada.

Methods: We conducted a prospective analysis of 492 participants in the SLHDP who did not have diabetes at baseline (1993 to 1995) and were followed for 10 years. A food-frequency questionnaire was administered, and FA was used to identify patterns of food consumption. Multivariate logistic regression analyses determined associations of food patterns with incident type 2 diabetes, adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle confounders.

Results: At follow up, 86 participants had developed incident type 2 diabetes. FA revealed 3 prominent dietary patterns: Balanced Market Foods, Beef and Processed Foods and Traditional Foods. After adjustment for age, sex, waist circumference, interleukin-6 and adiponectin, the Beef and Processed Foods pattern was associated with increased risk for incident type 2 diabetes (OR=1.38; 95% CI 1.02, 1.86). In contrast, the Balanced Market Foods and Traditional Foods Patterns were not significantly associated with type 2 diabetes.

Conclusions: Dietary interventions should encourage reduced consumption of unhealthful market foods, in combination with improvements in local food environments so as to increase access to healthful foods and reduce food insecurity in Indigenous communities.

Keywords: First Nations; Premières Nations; alimentation; autochtone; diabète sucré de type 2; food patterns; indigenous; modèles de consommation alimentaire; nutrition; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Indians, North American
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose