14 Nov 2014

Diabetes rates extreme in Pacific - WHO

7:09 am on 14 November 2014

The World Health Organisation says the incidence of diabetes in the Pacific is now extreme and some countries have the highest rates in the world.

Today is World Diabetes day and the WHO's non communicable disease technical officer Peter Hoejskov says complications from diabetes, such as amputations and blindness, have a huge personal cost on lives and economic cost on a country's development.

He says diabetes in Pacific countries is now extremely common.

"We have seen some preliminary figures coming out of American Samoa saying 47 per cent of the adult population; Cook Islands 24 per cent; Fiji down to 16; Federated States of Micronesia just over 30 per cent; Niue 38 per cent; and so on. So it ranges a bit but most of them are in the very high end."

Peter Hoejskov says sadly diabetes is now being seen by some as an inevitable disease but it can be prevented and turned around with a healthy diet, 30 minutes daily exercise and medical treatment if necessary.

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