This startling conclusion follows on from news yesterday regarding the impact of diabetes on indigenous people throughout the world. The worst hit could be the Maori of New Zealand and the Polynesian Islanders, according to an international diabetes expert.
Professor Martin Silink highlighted the genetic risk, and the scale of the problem, saying: “They (indigenous people) also have the genes that make the diabetes more damaging, so they are more prone to develop the serious complications of diabetes. There is a death due to diabetes every 10 seconds, and an amputation due to diabetes every 30 seconds. We are dealing with the biggest epidemic in world history .”
The host of the diabetes conference in Melbourne highlighted the ‘tragic situation’ amongst the Maori. He said that ‘extinction’ was a real risk amongst Maori populations.
A leading expert on Maori diabetes, Chris Cunningham of Massey University, agreed with the predictions. He suspects that over half of Maori diabetics are unaware that they have the disease.
The figures are alarming. Maori men are 6.5 times more likely, and Maori women are 10 times more likely, to die of diabetes than non-Polynesian people. 22 per cent of New Zealand diabetics are thought to be Maori.

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