Diabetes in adults is growing in Polynesian NZ children



Research from the Liggins Institute in New Zealand shows that the form of diabetes previously found only in adults is more and more often identified in Polynesian children.

Diabetics often have to monitor blood sugar levels.

Diabetics often have to monitor blood sugar levels.

Photo: AFP

Research shows that the children of Māori and Pasifika in New Zealand are 18 times more likely to suffer from Type 2 diabetes than European children.

Pediatric endocrinologist who participated in the research, Ben Albert, said he is still unusual in his childhood, but in the last twenty years, the rate increases each year by three to five percent.

Both type 1 diabetes-related lifestyle and type 1 diabetes with autoimmune diseases increase equally among children.

While genetic predisposition was a factor for type 2, obesity was a major contributor, Dr. Albert.

Treatment of the disease was difficult, so prevention was essential, he said.

"Activities that could reduce overweight and obesity are the same kind of what would reduce Type 2 diabetes: focus on healthy lifestyles, keep children really active, make sure diets are balanced and avoid common traps in our diet, leading us to enjoy more calories than we need as sweet drinks. "

Families are urged to seek health care if their children show signs of diabetes, said Dr. Albert. These may include fatigue, constant thirst, frequent visits to the toilets and infections.

The research was conducted by the Liggins Institute, which used 21 years of patient records from the Child Diabetes Service at Starship Hospital in Auckland.


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