Diabetes and obesity in the Louisiana Coushatta Indians

Douglas L. Gordon, Curtiss B. Cook, W. Douglas Scheer, Margaret Oalmann, Donald A. Boudreau, David Borne, Andrea Gatchair-Rose, Andrea H. Weems, Margie N. Turner, Ethel M. Robinson, Terry Johnson, Peggy B. Bourgeois, Karen M. DeMourelle, Denise Harris, Carole C. Post, Ora M. Franklin, Melanie P. Arabie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: In order to assist their community in planning intervention and prevention programs, prevalence rates for diabetes and obesity were examined among the Louisiana Coushatta. Research Design and Methods: Coushatta individuals participated in a health survey (questionnaires and physical examinations). Those without known diabetes underwent oral glucose tolerance testing and were classified as having normal glucose tolerance (NGT), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), or diabetes mellitus (DM). Those with known DM had the diagnosis confirmed by history and/or elevated hemoglobin A 1c. Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), and percent body fat (%BF) were determined as measures of central adiposity and obesity. Prevalence rates of diabetes and obesity among those examined were calculated. The prevalence of those with more than one anthropometric index positive for obesity was also determined. Results: The prevalence of DM was 30% and IGT was 17% among the first 151 Coushatta participants. For males, the prevalence of obesity was 62%, 57%, and 52%, and for females, 59%, 54%, 45%, as determined by the BMI, %BF, and WHR, respectively. Obesity was more prevalent among those with glucose intolerance (IGT + DM) than those with NGT, and those who were obese had the highest prevalence of glucose intolerance. A greater percentage of those with glucose intolerance had more than one positive obesity measure as compared to those with NGT, and those with more than one index consistent with obesity had a greater prevalence of IGT + DM. Conclusions: Prevalence rates of DM and obesity are high among the Louisiana Coushatta, and obesity is associated with glucose intolerance. Clustering of the three obesity measures occurs in a high percentage of individuals. Data from the current survey are providing information that is being used by the Coushatta community for health planning and development of intervention and prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-58
Number of pages11
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Native Americans
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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