Risk factors for diabetes in three pacific populations

Hilary King, Paul Zimmet, L. Robin Raper, Beverley Balkau

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King, H. (World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for the Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus, Melbourne, Victoria 3162, Australia), P. Zimmet, L. R. Raper and B. Balkau. Risk factors for diabetes in three Pacific populations. Am J Epidemiol 1984; 119: 396-409.The association between the prevalence of diabetes and three suspected risk factors-overweight, physical inactivity, and urbanization-has been studied in 5519 subjects from three Pacific populations: Melanesians and migrant Asian indians in Fiji in 1980, and Micronesians in the Republic of Kiribati (formerly the Gilbert Islands) In 1981. Associations were found to be inconsistent between populations, and between the sexes within populations. In some cases, overweight was strongly associated with prevalence; in others, the principal variable associated with diabetes appeared to be physical inactivity. More than one factor was associated with increased risk in Micronesians, and some evidence of interaction between factors also emerged. Although longitudinal studies will be required for the complete elucidation of risk factors for diabetes, these findings suggest that risk factors may be heterogeneous in their effect upon different populations, and that an assessment of risk variables operating in a given target community may be of value in the initial phase of a diabetes prevention or control program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-409
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Exertion
  • Obesity
  • Risk
  • Urbanization

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