A study published Tuesday by Public Health France shows that the main overseas departments are much more affected by diabetes than mainland France, a situation whose causes appear complex to establish. The survey was carried out by researchers from the public health agency among residents of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana and Reunion.
This study estimates that 12.0% of Guadeloupeans, 11.5% of Martinicans, 11.6% of Guyanese and 13.6% of Reunionese are diabetic (type 1 or type 2 combined, although type 2 is the most common). ), compared to a proportion of 5.7% in mainland France. The authors of the study, led by epidemiologist Sandrine Fosse-Edorh, even argue that the real proportion is probably higher. Indeed, these figures do not include residents who reported that they had been diagnosed with “small diabetes”, a notion with no medical basis but which leads them to believe that they are affected by an early and benign form of this pathology. . They would account for 3% or 4% of the population, depending on the departments.
This high proportion of diabetics is not a surprise, because it is in line with observations already made on the overseas population. However, the causes appear complex to determine. Overweight and obesity are the main risk factors for diabetes, but they cannot appear to be the only causes. They are in fact more widespread overseas... but if we limit ourselves only to diabetics, the proportion of overweight people is not higher there than in mainland France. In the majority of overseas departments (Guadeloupe, Guyana and Réunion), it is even less!
This higher prevalence of diabetes could be due to “specific pathophysiological mechanisms of type 2 diabetes in these territories”, suggest the authors of the study. These mechanisms could increase the risk of diabetes in an individual with a relatively low weight, which is not the case for residents of other regions such as mainland France. The authors also point out the lack of medical monitoring of overseas residents, whether it be poorly controlled blood sugar levels or, once diabetes has been declared, absent or inadequate treatment.