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Prevalence and correlates of diabetes and metabolic syndrome in a rural indigenous community in Baja California, Mexico



Diabetes is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Mexico and understudied among indigenous populations. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and identify correlates of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (Type 2 DM) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in a rural, indigenous community in Northwestern Mexico.


A cross-sectional study was conducted in the community of San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico, among a sample of households. A total of 275 participants (≥18 years old) underwent a questionnaire, physical examination, and serologic test. Prevalence and adjusted odds ratio (AOR), using logistic regression modeling, were estimated with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).


The prevalence of Type 2 DM and MetS was 21.8 and 53.1%, respectively. Mean ± standard deviation (SD) age and body mass index of study participants was 35.8 ± 13.0 years and 28.7 ± 5.6 kg/m2, respectively. Participants were 75% female and 60.7% self-identified as indigenous. Thirty-seven percent of adults had high blood pressure. After controlling for age, higher educational attainment had a protective effect on Type 2 DM (AOR = 0.39; 95% CI 0.20, 0.77). Additionally, the presence of MetS was associated with being female (AOR = 2.27; 95% CI 1.23, 4.14) and having lower educational attainment (AOR = 0.62; 95% CI 0.37, 0.94).


The prevalence of Type 2 DM and MetS was high in this rural and indigenous population, and education was shown to play a critical role. These findings support the need for community-inclusive health-promoting interventions in rural communities.

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