Glucose tolerance in Polynesia: association with obesity and island of residence

Hilary King, Paul Z. Zimmet, Richard J. Taylor

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Data on five polynesian populations, obtained by standardized population surveys conducted during the years 1978-1980, were examined for associations between glucose tolerance and both obesity and island of residence. In both sexes, after allowing for the influence of age and obesity, there was a significant difference in glucose tolerance between the three populations considered, subjectively, to be the less traditional and the two considered as retaining a more traditional lifestyle. Regression models predicting diabetic status were weaker than those using glucose tolerance as the dependent variable, probably due to the small number of diabetic subjects in the samples. As all subjects were of Polynesian ancestry, and the results could not be explained by knowledge of ancestral affiliations between the five populations, environmental, rather than genetic factors may have been the determinants of the observed differences in glucose tolerance. This finding highlights the need for a more sophisticated approach to the study of the association between socio-cultural modernization and chronic disease in the Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • (Diabetes mellitus)
  • Glucose tolerance
  • Island of residence
  • Modernization
  • Obesity
  • Polynesia

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