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Type II diabetes has reached epidemic proportions among Native Americans. It Is estimated that 12.2 percent of all Native Americans in the U.S. have Type II diabetes. This compares with 5.2 percent of the general U.S. population (Diabetes Statistics 1997). The highest rate of diabetes in the world is in the Pima Nation. Half of all Pima Indians age 35 and older have diabetes (West 1974). Diabetes causes severe health complications and is a major cause of
death for Native Americans.