The head of a province-wide health study says he's pleased to see First Nations people and northerners are well-represented in his work.

Dr. Lyle Palmer and his team are surveying Ontario residents about their general health for what is known as the Ontario Health Study.

All participants are volunteers and will receive follow-up surveys throughout their entire lives.

The goal is to learn what factors cause chronic diseases like diabetes.

Palmer said the proportion of First Nation participants is higher in the study than among the general population.

"I think that the community recognizes that there are important health conditions that are more prevalent in the First Nations community and this is a chance to start to explore the reasons why."

Palmer says there are about 3,500 people from Sudbury participating in the study so far.