Leanness and type 2 diabetes in a population of indigenous Australians

Julie Brimblecombe, Dorothy Mackerras, Joanne Garnggulkpuy, Elaine Maypilama, Leanne Bundhala, Rrapa Dhurrkay, Joseph Fitz, Louise Maple-Brown, Tomer Shemesh, Kevin G. Rowley, Kerin O'Dea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and its risk factors in a population of indigenous Australians. Research design and methods: A cross-sectional study of 332 indigenous community residents aged 15 years and over with fasting blood samples and anthropometric measurements. Results: Almost half of the study population (47.3%) was extremely lean (BMI < 22 kg/m 2). Leanness was particularly pronounced in the youngest age group (15 < 20 years), 78% of which had a BMI < 22 kg/m2. The prevalence of diabetes was 12%. It was highest in those 45-54 years and declined in older aged people. No cases of diabetes were detected in those aged less than 30 years. Diabetes prevalence was strongly linked to BMI and age (age-adjusted odds ratio = 24.1, 95% CI 6.0-96.5, p < 0.001) for BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 versus BMI < 22 kg/m2. Those with the lowest diabetes risk profile are lean (BMI < 22 kg/m2) and/or young (age 15-34 years). Conclusions: These results highlight that strategies to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes should focus on the maintenance of leanness from adolescence and throughout adult life whilst young people are still in the process of forming lifelong habits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aboriginal
  • Community intervention
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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