Aim: To describe the prevalence of known diabetes in different ethnic groups in inner urban South Auckland.
Method: Cross-sectional household survey of 27,419 residences in the multi-ethnic community of inner urban South Auckland 1992-1995.
Results: Responses from 91.3% of households included 90,477 residents, 1862 (2.1%) of whom had diabetes. The all-age adjusted prevalence of known diabetes was 1.9 (1.7-2.0)% in Europeans, 5.2 (4.9-5.5)% among Maori, 4.0 (3.8-4.2)% among Pacific Islands people and 4.3 (3.8-4.9) 2% among other ethnic groups. There was heterogeneity within the Pacific Islands and "other" groups with the highest prevalence present in South Asians, Niueans and those from the Middle East. A non-significantly lower prevalence of diabetes was found among Chinese respondents. These data predicted 85,581 people with known diabetes in New Zealand in 1996. The greatest growth, due to demographic changes alone (i.e. without taking account of the known increased incidence of diabetes), was predicted among non-European, non-Polynesian groups, with a 181% increase in numbers with diabetes since 1991.
Conclusion: Demographic pressures have been sufficient to increase the number with known diabetes by 13.9% in five years. This would have underestimated the epidemic in view of the observed growth in the age-adjusted incidence of diabetes in overseas studies.