Pacific's high diabetes rates aren't expected to drop soon
A World Health Organisation official says Pacific rates of diabetes are two to three times the global average.
Pacific rates of diabetes are two to three times the global average and the World Health Organisation says the high rate looks set to continue.
Wendy Snowdon is a WHO expert on non communicable diseases in the region and she told Lucy Smith while the overall prevalence of diabetes is stabilising there won't be a noticeable reduction in numbers for some time.
So generally speaking across the region the surveys that have been done looking at the prevalence have shown yes, quite concerning rates of diabetes. Typically at least two to three times the global average for diabetes.
It's important to bare in mind that when you do a survey for diabetes you survey a representative sample. You find many new cases of people who don't know that they were diabetic beforehand as it's a condition that people can live with for a while before realising they have the condition.
There isn't one single measure that is going to solve this problem it's going to require a concerted effort across multiple aspects of the kind of supply chain and availability and access, and behaviour and knowledge as well if we're really going to start the trend downwards of these key risk factors. Which we are starting to see already in some of the Pacific island countries.
Oh really which countries have been going down?
So not for diabetes unfortunately, we've managed to stabilise some of the rates. But certainly for some of the risk factors like smoking, a number of countries have seen in the most recent surveys have seen either a reduction in the daily smoking rate or the overall smoking rate. We've got countries that have seen increases in the intake of fruit and vegetables, and also increases in the levels of physical activity. But we're still struggling to make progress I think, on reducing the level of overweight, or obesity or diabetes. Which in fact are actually extremely difficult to reduce the population prevalence in. With diabetes it's more reasonable to try and maintain the same rate. And that in fact is the global target for diabetes to maintain the same rate and not to increase. If we can stop the new cases coming and support those who are already diabetic then over the next 20 years we may see a reduction in the levels but obviously the people who are already diabetic now are going to stay diabetic so we won't be able to reduce the actual prevalence in the short term.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: