Researchers in New Zealand have been left shocked by new research which suggests that nearly one in five people in the country are at high risk of type 2 diabetes .
The research, conducted at the University of Otago, found that the number of New Zealanders at risk of developing diabetes is much higher than previously thought.
The scientists examined blood samples from 2008/2009 from more than 3300 people over the age of 15 and found that 7% had diabetes.
However, almost 20% had pre-diabetes – a glucose metabolism disorder that is almost always a precursor to type 2 diabetes mellitus – meaning that at the time incidence of type 2 diabetes was set to rise significantly over the coming years.
The results showed that nearly a fifth of those aged 35-44 years; more than a quarter of those between the ages of 45-54; and almost half of those within the 55-64 age bracket had diabetes or pre-diabetes in 2008/09. But the researchers fear that current figures may be lot higher.
Lead researchers Professor Jim Mann and Dr Kristen Coppell said the alarming findings, particularly the numbers with pre-diabetes, should be of “major concern to policy makers and health funders” given New Zealand’s already-high national diabetes rate.
Dr Coppell added: “The implications of increased diabetes-related morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs are considerable.
“Implementation of effective evidence based diabetes prevention strategies is urgently required to reduce the increasing costs of the diabetes epidemic.”