Genetic differences between ethnic groups have been found to play a significant role in the prevalence of certain diseases in minority populations, as well as how certain ethnicities respond to disease-modifying therapies. However, in spite of the fact that ethnic groups bear wide-ranging differences in their relationship with diseases, many ethnic minorities have yet to be properly studied in order to fully understand the genetic ramifications that some ethnicities experience in dealing with disease. There is, however, an emerging effort to better understand how different ethic groups handle disease diagnosis in their communities, as well as how genetic and cultural factors may impact disease prevalence.
A new study entitled “Cultural continuity,traditional Indigenous language,and diabetes in Alberta First Nations: a mixed methods study” studied the relationship between cultural continuity, self-determination, and diabetes prevalence in First Nations in Alberta, Canada. The study was published in International Journal for Equity in Health.
Alberta First Nations are a group of indigenous people who live in the canadian province of Alberta, and are recognized as aboriginal Canadians. To understand how cultural continuity, i.e. “being who we are” and self-determination is key to health success of First Nations, the authors performed interviews to 10 Cree and Blackfoot leaders from across Alberta province. According to their findings, they the developed a quantitative analysis using public and provincial administrative data for the 31 First Nations communities of the relationship between cultural continuity and diabetes prevalence, a major Indigenous health problem.
The authors found that cultural continuity was a determinant factor to health success between the First Nations. Specifically for diabetes, they observed that First Nations with longer cultural continuity exhibited significantly lower levels for diabetes prevalence, even after socio-economic factors’ adjustment.
These findings represent an important aspect since cultural continuity is seriously compromised in Alberta Cree and Blackfoot Nations, due to colonization effects and First Nations are struggling with government policy.