Puget Sound Traditional Food and Diabetes

Collaborative research between tribal members, health care workers and archaeologists




Diabetes facts







Diabetes Facts


Diabetes in the US

  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes
  • About 16 million people in the US had type 2 diabetes in 2002
  • At least 5 million more are undiagnosed
  • Between 1991 and 2001, overall diabetes rate in US increased from 4.9% to 7.9%, an increase of 61% in ten years
  • Diabetes is now the 5th leading cause of death in the US
  • Diabetes caused deaths are probably underreported
  • Diabetes is leading cause of blindness and kidney failure, and a primary cause of heart disease, stroke, gum disease, and amputations


Diabetes in Native American Populations

  • Native Americans have the highest risk for diabetes of all ethnic groups in the US
  • Diabetes levels range from over 25% (nearly 4 times rate for non-Native people) in the southeastern and southwestern regions of the US, to 8.2% for Alaska
  • Pacific Northwest Native American rate is about 14%, more than twice the percentage in non-Native populations


Causes and Treatment of type 2 diabetes

  • Causes remain poorly understood, but appear to have both genetic and environmental factors
  • Type 2 diabetes is statistically associated with obesity and low levels of physical activity
  • Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with changes in diet, weight loss and exercise




National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse;


Burrows, Nilka Ríos (2002) Prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives, National Headquarters Diabetes Program,

Indian Health Service and Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention