It has been shown that Indians in New Zealand have an increased prevalence of diabetes compared with other New Zealanders. Apart from predisposing genetic factors and little exercise, it is the modern Indian diet that increases diabetes risk as it is over represented by highly refined carbohydrates, and contains little fruit, vegetables or fish.

Health professionals have little in the way of knowledge and resources to support this minority group. This project is designed to provide a learning tool for health professionals to be able to readily access information with printable resources for patients in both English and Hindi, the national language in India.


This website has been created to fill a gap in New Zealand's health system resources for health professionals, to assist our Asian Indian population manage the transition to our westernised culture. The creator of this website is a New Zealand Registered Nurse with a special interest in Nutrition and Diabetes, currently completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Advanced Diabetes Care.

It is recognised that without the harsher physical climate as found in the Indian homelands; here in New Zealand the Traditional Indian Diet Increases Risk of Diabetes. Determining priorities and ensuring the best use of available resources represents a challenge to governments, those advising them and those responsible for service delivery at the local level. However, reducing diabetes and cardiovascular disease in our population and reducing health inequalities between ethnic groups and regions are priorities in the New Zealand Health Strategy (MOH 2000).

Indians in New Zealand (NZ) form the fastest growing ethnic group and are the second largest ethnic population. Indian people, as per latest 2007 Census data in New Zealand, have numbers rising to 105,000 showing a growth rate of 68 per cent between 2001 and 2006. Chinese among Asians remained the biggest group with 148,000. The total population of New Zealand is currently 4,181,060.

For purposes of clarity, New Zealand Indian people are also known as South Asians or Asian Indians. They are mainly from the Indian Subcontinent (or South Asia) and includes seven countries which are members of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), namely: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. (MOH, Asian Public Health Project Report 2003) NZ also has Indians with Fijian backgrounds.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes among New Zealand Indians exceeds that seen in Maori and Pacific Islanders. (Duncan, Schofield, Duncan, Kolt, and Rush 2004). This is reiterated by the Asian Health in Aotearoa Survey in 2003 stating that South Asians have an increased prevalence of diabetes compared with other New Zealanders. Dr. Janet Titchener, a Hawke's Bay Diabetes Specialist confirms this is the case also, with approximately four times the incidence of diabetes compared to the general population, surpassing figures for Maori and Pacific Islanders.

This is an issue of increasing importance to New Zealand as Asian Indians are projected to account for 13% of New Zealand's population by 2021.

In spite of their population growth, Asian ethnic groups have been largely neglected by New Zealand health and research policies. For example, only Maori and PI children were over-sampled in the 2002 National Children's Nutrition Survey. In addition, Maori and PI children were analysed separately, whereas children of Asian decent were grouped with New Zealand Europeans. This is a common theme in national surveys by government organisations; such as the Ministry of Health, and Sport and Recreation New Zealand. In order to understand the public health needs of Asian populations in New Zealand, and to tailor preventative health strategies, it is vital that future surveys distinguish between these ethnic groups. (Duncan, Schofield, Duncan, Kolt, and Rush 2004)

© 2010 De La Haye