TWENTY-ONE years from now, the incidence of diabetes among Fiji's population could be 50 per cent, equating to a ratio of one diabetic patient for every healthy person.
This was revealed by medical officer-in-charge and chair of Diabetes Fiji for the Central and Eastern Division, Dr Lisi Finiasi.
He made the assertion while commenting on predictions made by international medical experts that by 2035 the total number of people suffering from diabetes around the world could increase to 592 million.
For Fiji, the percentage of diabetics could increase from 30 per cent to 50 per cent. "So instead of a three to one ratio, we are looking at a one to one ratio for diabetes patients," she said.
She said about $US548billion was spent globally last year to combat diabetes.
Dr Finiasi said local authorities were looking at people between the ages of 40 and 59 years, who were dying prematurely.
"About 5.1 million deaths were recorded globally last year. This means that every six seconds, a person dies from diabetes."
According to Dr Finiasi, the increase in these diseases was because of the affordability of sugar-sweetened beverages and food items.
"We have to make the healthier choice the more affordable choice.
"People don't die of diabetes, they die from the complications of diabetes. We should try to control and prevent these diseases in the first place."
Dr Finiasi said most of the developing nations shouldered the burden of diabetes.
"We live in a developing country and about 80 per cent of people live in low and middle income countries.
"As we grow older, there will be more non-communicable diseases, more lifestyle problems.
"So we need to start controlling what we eat and what we do."