Dr. Riz Firestone has been awarded almost $1 million from the Health Research Council to set up a programme involving Pacific youth in Auckland and South Waikato.
Pre-diabetes is a stage of higher blood glucose level that isn't high enough to be considered diabetes, but could lead to it if untreated.
PRN reports the rate of pre-diabetes for Pacific youth is 13.6 per cent compared to 7 per cent for European youth.
Dr. Firestone says it's important to engage Pacific youth on this topic.
"They are the next generation of community leaders," she says. "Talk about what we can do, what are the skills and resources in the community that will sustain an intervention approach that's going to work."
Health Research Council CEO Professor Kath McPherson says community work is a key element to improving health in New Zealand.
"Decisions that we make about nutrition, our activity, alcohol, smoking, they're complex decisions," she says.
"This project is trying to understand better how young people make decisions currently and give them the mechanisms to help them make the best decisions for their health and well-being and their future."