Frequently eating canned processed meat (spam) is associated with a significantly elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes in Native Americans, according to a University of Washington study. Spam, a government subsidized food, is commonly found on reservations. Native Americans have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with nearly 50 percent developing the condition by age 55. In the study, 2,000 Native Americans who did not have type 2 diabetes and were an average age of 35, answered questions about their diets, health, and lifestyle. After five years, 243 participants had developed type 2 diabetes, with 85 percent of those who ate the most spam developing the disease, compared to 44 percent of those who ate the least spam. Consuming unprocessed meat did not appear to increase the participants` tendency to develop type 2 diabetes. Two years ago, a Harvard School of Medicine study found a 19 percent increased type diabetes risk associated with consuming processed meats. Although researchers have not determined why processed meats are associated with an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes, some suspect that the high levels of sodium may play a role.