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40 percent of Fiji residents have disease

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 29, 2009) – Fiji has an alarming rate of diabetes according to early results from a survey by a New Zealand organization.

The survey by the Fred Hollows Foundation shows 40 percent of people over the age of 40 in Fiji have the disease but are unaware of their condition.

The Foundation says the figures are among the highest in the world.

Fiji Indians are shown to be most at risk with half of those screened having the disease.

In New Zealand, the rate among the same age group is nine percent.

Overall, the survey which covered 34 communities in Fiji shows Fiji’s diabetic rate is four times that in New Zealand.

"When we found out they were 40 percent, the scope and the depth of the problem just hit us," Doctor Tom Schaefer from Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand told New Zealand’s One News.

"The impacts in terms of costs, family aspects, economic issues are just going to be staggering," says Schaefer.

The survey is the first of its kind carried out in Fiji. It was launched after increasing numbers of people complained of eye problems which are linked to diabetes.

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