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Question 2:  Does Diabetes Affect Men And Women Equally?

To consider:

Indigenous women suffer more from diabetes (both in prevalence and in complications) than indigenous men.  This stems from carrying a personal burden, and also from performing the role of primary care-giver to ill family members.  The health of Aboriginal women, from an epidemiological perspective, has been widely studied in Canada.

The life expectancy for Canadian Aboriginal women is 76.2 years[1].  Initially, this number may seem impressive.  However, when compared to non-Aboriginal women in Canada, who have a life expectancy of 81.0 years, disparity is noted [1].  And although gains have been made since 1991, when the life expectancy for Aboriginal women was less than 75 years, this disparity has remained intact [2]Aboriginal women are more likely to suffer from heart and lung problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers than non-Aboriginal women [1].  Furthermore, diabetes within the Aboriginal community shows a preponderance for women with a ratio of two to one when compared to men [1] [2].  Similar findings exist in Native American populations where women have higher rates than men, and those rates peak earlier [3].  Thus, indigenous women suffer the dual oppressions of sex and politics not only from a social perspective, but also from a health perspective.

 

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Source: Health Canada website and Media Photo Gallery, Health Canada, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2006.

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1. Health Canada. The Health of Aboriginal Women. Health Canada Fact sheet. March 1999.

2. Stout MD, Kipling GD, Stout R. Aboriginal women’s health research synthesis project - final report. Centres of Excellence for Women’s Health; 2001.

3. Szathmáry, EJE Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus among aboriginal North Americans. Annual Reviews of Anthropology. 1994; 23: 457-82.

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