Diabetes Tasmania reveals figures on World Health Day

ABOUT 174 Tasmanians are diagnosed with diabetes each month, Diabetes Tasmania revealed on World Health Day, and 2015 saw 100,000 Australians diagnosed with the condition for the second year in a row.

The World Health Organisation released its first Global report on diabetes on Thursday.

It described diabetes as the major global health challenge of the 21st century and one of the biggest threats to economies across the globe on Thursday.

About 422 million adults live with the chronic disease internationally, including 1.2 million in Australia – a figure that has nearly doubled since 1980.

Diabetes Tasmania chief executive Caroline Wells said that if diabetes were a country it would be the world’s third-largest.

“These figures are in contrast to some other chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease and some cancers where we are seeing a reduction in the burden of these as prevention, treatment and management improves,” she said.

“On top of this these figures, Diabetes Australia estimates there around two million adult Australians with prediabetes who are the high risk population likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This equates to about 40,000 Tasmanians.”

Ms Wells said evidence supported a coordinated, comprehensive diabetes prevention program to slow the epidemic.

“We have very strong evidence that intensive lifestyle behaviour changes including alterations to diet, increased physical activity and a reduction of 5 to 7 per cent of body weight can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60 per cent for people at high risk,” she said.

“The Victorian Government has funded a diabetes prevention program since 2008 and the Queensland Government is now funding a similar program. It is now Tasmania’s turn to step up to the mark.”

The Tasmanian government is working on its preventative health strategy and aims to have the healthiest population by 2025.