Background: Brazil has more than 200 indigenous peoples with 170 different languages that result in different epidemiological and demographic situations. The objective of this study was to describe the nutritional and metabolic profile of the adult Karib indigenous peoples, inhabitants of the Upper Xingu region, as well as to evaluate their possible effects on their cardiovascular health.
Methods: In 2002, the Karib population comprised 1091 individuals, 390 of whom (35.7%) were 20 years of age or older. This study was based on results from 251 adult individuals (64.4%). χ2 statistics were used to evaluate the possible relationship between chronic diseases and tribe, gender and age. Analysis of variance was used to compare the average values of the biomedical variables of the individuals according to tribe and gender.
Results: The prevalence of the main risk factors detected was: 39.3% overweight and 6.8% obese, mainly among men (60.4%), 41.8% for central obesity mainly among women (66.7%), 68% for dyslipidaemia and 15.4% for blood pressure alterations mainly among men (24.7%). Overall, percentages were higher than in the non-indigenous Brazilian population. The percentage of individuals presenting simultaneously with at least two cardiovascular risk factors (29%) was also remarkable.
Conclusions: These findings emphasize the need to implement preventive health measures to control obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors in indigenous peoples.
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Competing interests: None.
Funding: The Ministério da Saúde, Brasil (Brazil Health Ministry), provided funding for this research.
Ethics approval: This study was approved by the São Paulo Federal University Commission on Ethics in Research (protocol number 1868/07).