Study shows that Indigenous Australians are not genetically prone to diabetes

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Published in the HealthBulletin Journal
Posted on:
23 April, 2007
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The following information has been adapted from information provided by Menzies School of Health Research and the ABC.

A recent study from Menzies School of Health Research has found that Indigenous Australians are not genetically prone to diabetes. The study was authored by epidemiologist Yin Paradies, along with two researchers from the United States. It shows that the high rates of diabetes among indigenous people across the globe are rooted in social disadvantage rather than a genetic predisposition specific to indigenous populations.

It has previously been thought that high rates of diabetes among Indigenous Australians and other indigenous populations were partly attributable to a ‘thrifty genotype’ that is very efficient at using nutrients. Globally, rates of diabetes are around 2-5 times higher among indigenous people.

Paradies believes the most important way to tackle diabetes in Indigenous Australians is through addressing social disadvantage.

Reference details and links to the published findings are below:

Paradies YC, Montoya MJ, Fullerton SM (2007)
Racialized genetics and the study of complex diseases: the thrifty genotype revisited.
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
;50(2):203-227
View article: Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (HTML)
View article: Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (PDF – 144KB)
View website: Project Muse

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