22 Oct 2007

Growing concern over obesity problems for Guam's indigenous people

10:51 am on 22 October 2007

Researchers have warned that obesity and with it, diabetes, is a looming health crisis for Guam's indigenous population, the Chamorros.

The coordinator of the Micronesian Medical Symposium Dr. Saied Safa, says an estimated 25 percent of Guam's population already has diabetes, which can cause heart disease, kidney failure and other problems.

Even more worrying, he says, is that youth obesity is causing the disease in

children under the age of 10.

The Pacific Daily News reports that Guam's indigenous population is disturbingly similar to the Pima Indian population in the United States.

The Pimas, through changes in diet and lifestyle, have developed a genetic predisposition to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Leslie Baier of the Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch, in Arizona said the problem is, when an entire population gains weight at once, it becomes normal.

People accept it and say this is just the way they are.