Diabetes and obesity trends in Fiji over 30 years

Sophia Lin, Isimeli Tukana, Christine Linhart, Stephen Morrell, Richard Taylor, Penina Vatucawaqa, Dianna J. Magliano, Paul Zimmet

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: No systematic comparison has been conducted in Fiji using all suitable surveys of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and obesity prevalence after standardizing methodology and definitions. Methods: Unit records from six surveys of Fiji adults were variously adjusted for age, ethnicity (Fiji Melanesians, i-Taukei, and Fijians of Asian Indian descent [Indians]) and urban–rural by sex to previous censuses. Trends were assessed using meta-regression (random effect models) and estimates projected to 2020. Poisson regression of strata was used to assess the effect of body mass index (BMI) increases on T2DM period trends. Results: Over 1980–2011, T2DM prevalence increased in i-Taukei men (3.2% to 11.1%; 1.32%/5 years) and women (5.3% to 13.6%; 1.40%/5 years) and Indian men (11.1% to 17.9%; 1.24%/5 years) and women (11.2% to 19.9%; 1.71%/5 years). Projected T2DM prevalence in 2020 is 13.3% and 16.7% in i-Taukei men and women, and 23.4% and 24.1% in Indian men and women, respectively. Obesity prevalence increased in i-Taukei men (12.6% to 28.9%; 2.99%/5 years) and women (30.1% to 52.9%; 3.84%/5 years) and in Indian men (2.8% to 9.4%; 1.21%/5 years) and women (13.2% to 26.6%; 2.61%/5 years). Projected obesity prevalence in 2020 is 34.0% and 60.0% in i-Taukei and women, and 11.4% and 31.0% in Indian men and women, respectively. After age-adjustment, an estimated 27%, 25%, 16% and 18% of the T2DM period trend is attributable to BMI in i-Taukei men and women and Indian men and women, respectively. Conclusions: Prevalence of T2DM in Fiji is projected to continue increasing, driven by rising obesity, with consequences for premature mortality and life expectancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-543
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Diabetes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Fiji
  • Obesity
  • Prevalence
  • Trends

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