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Prevalence of diabetes in New Zealand general practice – the influence of ethnicity and social deprivation
  1. Grace Joshy1,
  2. Tesa Porter2,
  3. Clem Le Lievre3,
  4. Jane Lane3,
  5. Mike Williams3,
  6. Ross Lawrenson1
  1. 1 University of Auckland, New Zealand;
  2. 2 University of Otago, New Zealand;
  3. 3 Rotorua General Practice Group, New Zealand
  1. E-mail: joshyg{at}


Introduction: We investigated the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among the different ethnic groups and the influence of deprivation on diabetes prevalence among Mâori and New Zealand Europeans.

Methods: Cross sectional survey on all patients registered with 10 Rotorua General Practice Group practices as on 1st July 2007. Patients diagnosed with diabetes were identified though diagnostic code for diabetes, prescriptions for diabetes medications and laboratory tests for HbA1c. Prevalence of diabetes by ethnicity, age group, gender and NZDep2001 quintiles has been calculated. Adjusted odds ratios for the risk of diabetes have been obtained from logistic regression analysis.

Results: Of the 45,500 patients registered, 1819 had been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. In the 40+ age groups, Mâori and Pacific people have around three times the prevalence compared with Europeans. With increasing deprivation, the age-standardised prevalence of diagnosed diabetes increased among European male (2.7% to 5.0%) and female (2.1% to 3.1%). However, the prevalence of diabetes was highest among least deprived Mâori (male 9.7%, female 6.2%). The adjusted risk of diabetes for most deprived Mâori is not significantly different from least deprived Mâori. Most deprived Europeans have nearly twice the risk of having diabetes compared with least deprived Europeans.

Conclusions: Although rising diabetes prevalence with increasing deprivation among Europeans shows a similar trend to results from national and international studies, the trend among Mâori seem to be different where the least deprived are equally at risk of diabetes. Diabetes interventions aimed at Mâori should be tailor made to include the least deprived groups.

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