Minister Urges People To Take Responsibility To Minimise Diabetes

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Associate Minister of Health

There are many ways that people can look after themselves to help avoid the ravages of diabetes, Associate Minister of Health Georgina te Heuheu said today.

Saturday, 14 November is World Diabetes Day, an important international recognition of the impact diabetes has on some communities.

"Diabetes is a serious disease that affects Maori at twice the rate of other New Zealanders. The good news is THAT there are lifestyle changes people can easily make to reduce their chances of getting diabetes" Mrs te Heuheu said.

"Exercising regularly and eating well are simple, positive steps that everyone can take. It doesn't have to be very much or very difficult".

"In fact, walking for half an hour on most days, and eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and less fat, are the generally used treatments for the most common type of diabetes in New Zealand."

Diabetes affects about 5-10% of Maori, compared to 2-5% of all New Zealanders. It is estimated 82,000 people suffer from diabetes, and there is thought to be a significant number of people with the disease that have not yet been diagnosed.

"Given the number of Maori that suffer from diabetes, and the serious complications such as blindness that can arise from it, I think it is absolutely crucial that Maori take some responsibility for this aspect of their health themselves."

"We should all endeavour to make sure we eat better and exercise even a little," the Minister said.