New Zealanders are more likely to have diabetes than their Australian counterparts as well as those in many other developed countries, a report has found.
New data released by the International Diabetes Federation has placed New Zealand 14th-worst among 38 developed countries in terms of rates of diabetes.
The research concluded more than 7 percent of New Zealanders had the disease, compared to Australia's 5 percent, which is among the lowest in the developed world.
IDF committee chair Nam Cho said globally both type 1 and type 2 diabetes were on the rise.
"While the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is currently unknown, trends such as urbanisation, unhealthy diets and reduced physical activity are all contributing lifestyle factors that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes," he said.
The IDF has called on governments to tax unhealthy food and use the proceeds to treat diabetes.
The New Zealand Government in October rejected introducing a "sugar tax" as part of a package aimed at reducing childhood obesity.
It's estimated that about 257,000 New Zealanders are currently living with diabetes.
The report noted rates of diabetes were significantly higher among indigenous populations in many countries, including among New Zealand Maori.
It also said Australia had the world's highest spending per person on diabetes treatment.
The US had the highest rate of diabetes among the developed world, at 10.5 percent, followed closely by Singapore, Malta and Portugal.
However, compared to all countries in the world, the US is only 60th-worst and far behind many Pacific countries, some of which have rates as high as 30 percent.