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New Campaign Launched in National Diabetes Week

A recent Newspoll survey finding nearly 80 per cent of Australians don’t think they are at risk of developing diabetes has spurred a new campaign during National Diabetes Week.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said the disconnect between public perception of risk and reality is a major concern. “280 Australians develop diabetes every day – nearly 100,000 Australians developed diabetes in the past year. “The continuing rise of this epidemic and the high impact on everyday Australians cannot be ignored.”

Evidence also shows that more than 2 million have pre-diabetes and are at high risk, and many more are at medium risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This week, National Diabetes Week, Diabetes Australia has launched The Face of Diabetes – a new campaign to raise awareness of all types of diabetes, the continuing rise of the epidemic, and the very significant financial implications of the diabetes epidemic and need for the Australian Government to urgently develop and implement a new National Diabetes Strategy.

Professor Johnson said: “All types of diabetes – type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes show worrying increases in prevalence.”

“There is no such thing as ‘mild’ diabetes. “All types of diabetes are serious and can lead to serious complications. “For example, heart attacks and strokes kill people with diabetes early and are four times more likely in people with diabetes. “On current trends, diabetes will become the number one burden of disease in Australia in the next five years. “Type 2 diabetes currently costs the Australian community $14.6 billion a year. “This will double to $30 billion in 12 years if we don’t adopt stronger approaches to preventing diabetes and its complications” Professor Johnson said.

Professor Paul Zimmet AO, a member of the Expert Committee which helped prepare the recently released National Diabetes Strategy for Diabetes Australia set out the five key goals, all of which focus on prevention:

  1. Prevent complications – through optimal management and earlier diagnosis
  2. Prevent more people from developing type 2 diabetes.
  3. Reduce the impact of diabetes in pregnancy for women and children
  4. Reduce the impact of diabetes on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  5. Strengthen prevention through knowledge and evidence.

Professor Zimmet said: “Diabetes Australia is calling for national targets for the health system to focus on prevention of diabetes and its complications.

He said that “Diabetes begets diabetes”, hence the focus on diabetes in pregnancy and the increased risk for the children which can be intergenerational. The strategy also focuses on our Indigenous communities as they have one of the highest rates of diabetes, and its devastating complications, in the world.

Professor Stephen Colagiuri, a member of the Expert Committee, said the strategy should be financially supported by government, health insurers, employers and workers compensation insurers with the aim of reduced health and disability costs and increased workplace productivity.

“Data from the AusDiab study indicates over 2 million Australians including large numbers of workers have pre-diabetes putting them at high risk of type 2 diabetes. Prevention of type 2 diabetes in this population is proven, possible and powerful – Australia needs to put in place a national prevention program”.

“Leadership is urgently needed from the incoming government to take on this National Diabetes Strategy, to develop and implement it over coming years.” said Professor Colagiuri. “It is Australia’s No 1 health challenge in coming decades”.

For more information on the Face of Diabetes campaign go to www.faceofdiabetes.org.au