Diabetes risk depends where you live - study

Auckland Hospital, located in a region where the risk of diabetes is low (James Fyfe/Newshub.)
Auckland Hospital, located in a region where the risk of diabetes is low (James Fyfe/Newshub.)

Where you live in Auckland could determine your chance of developing diabetes.

According to a new study (see below) published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal, people living in Mangere are about five times more likely to have diabetes than those on the North Shore.

But even after taking age, gender and other factors into account, Mangere residents are still twice as likely as those on the North Shore to be diagnosed with the disease.

"There is significant variation in the prevalence of diabetes ... in Auckland that persists across strata of age group, gender and ethnicity, and persists after controlling for these same variables," researchers from the University of Auckland's School of Population Health wrote.

Other regions with above-average rates of diabetes, once demographics are taken into account, include Manurewa, Botany, Papakura and Te Atatu.

"Geography and its implications on access to and availability of health resources appears to be a key driver of inequity in diabetes rates, supporting an argument for intervention based on geography, especially a public health approach rather than an individual risk approach," the study notes.

Low-risk areas include Rodney, Auckland central and the eastern North Shore.

The researchers say while there will be a "multitude of factors" behind the variations, "traditional explanations" such as eating too much, smoking and a lack of exercise can't explain it all.

Instead, they're pointing the finger at:

"Addressing these factors presents a number of challenges and requires concerted action across a range of Government departments and services."

The worry they have is programmes that work do so over the long-term, and are a challenge to keep going.