KRC Publication Details

Health behaviors and diabetes risk factors among American Indians in an urban setting


Lipton R.
Fruh S.
Allen P

IHS Primary Care Provider



Although non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is recognized as a leading health problem among American Indians whose health care is provided by tribal or Indian Health Service facilities (mostly rural), few studies have examined the impact of the disease among American Indians living off reservations. The goal of this study was to characterize general health behaviors and risk factors for diabetes and hypertension among a group of urban American Indians. Simple, descriptive analyses were performed on survey data collected from a sample that included 860 individuals who self-reported at least one full-blooded American Indian grandparent. The participants reported a substantial burden of diabetes and hypertension; diagnosed diabetes was acknowledged by 14% of respondents, and 19% reported having hypertension. The prevalence of diabetes increased with increased weight and age. Over half of the respondents had a positive family history of diabetes, two times the national rate. About one-third of the respondents reported using alcohol and a similar proportion were current smokers. We found that 45% of known diabetics in this sample reported a diagnosis of hypertension. Conclusions: The survey results suggest that cardiovascular disease may be at least as much of a risk among urban American Indians with diabetes as among others with diabetes. The burden of chronic disease is clearly not restricted to American Indians living on reservations, and the health needs and services of those residing in urban areas must be addressed.

Study Details



General information that involves urban Indians

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