This unfortunate distinction is nothing new. Studies in 1998 and 1963 also showed a high prevalence of diabetes among Native Hawaiians. Micronesians such as Chamorros also have high rates of the disease: A 2006 study found a 16.2% rate of the disease among this group.
Diabetes damages health in a number of ways. People with diabetes are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, stroke and renal disease. Also, diabetes sufferers have a lower health-related quality of life. Diabetes is also related to an excess risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, the main form of liver cancer, and being overweight likely contributes to this.