Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Hyperinsulinemia, and Hypertriglyceridemia in Australian Aborigines From the Desert Academic Article uri icon


  • A cross section of adult full-blooded Aborigines from three small isolated communities in the desert region of northwest Australia was surveyed for diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), insulin levels, and lipoprotein lipids. Sixty-three men and 86 women from a total adult population of 330 were tested. Of the people tested, 67.6% had normal glucose tolerance, 25% had IGT, and 7.4% had diabetes. Both diabetes and IGT were strongly age related. Fasting insulin levels and insulin responses to oral glucose (elevation above basal) were elevated. Although fasting insulin rose with age, insulin response did not rise after adjustment for body mass index (BMI). Plasma triglyceride levels were high, particularly in men greater than 35 yr old (3.13 +/- 0.32 mM), but cholesterol levels were not elevated. Multiple regression analysis of fasting glucose, 2-h glucose, plasma triglyceride, fasting insulin, and insulin response for the nondiabetic subjects revealed 1) BMI was an independent risk factor for elevated 2-h glucose levels in women but not in men and was strongly related to fasting insulin concentrations in both genders; 2) fasting insulin concentration was an independent risk factor for increases in fasting glucose, insulin response, and triglyceride levels; 3) insulin response was related to the 2-h glucose level; 4) fasting and 2-h glucose levels and fasting insulin and triglyceride concentrations all rose with age in both genders, with the rate of increase generally greater in men. The most striking difference between these desert Aborigines and previously studied coastal Aborigines from the same geographical region was the significantly higher insulin response.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


  • O'Dea, K
  • Traianedes, K
  • Hopper, JL
  • Larkins, RG

publication date

  • January 1, 1988