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Preventative approach needed for diabetes

DIABETES NEW ZEALAND

MEDIA RELEASE


Preventative approach needed for diabetes

The release of an Otago University study into the impact of lifestyle changes on the risk of diabetes is a significant and welcome step forward in understanding what is needed to stem the tide of the diabetes epidemic in New Zealand reports Diabetes New Zealand.

“This study clearly shows that New Zealanders need to get active and change their diets if they want to be healthy adults,” said Ian Middlemiss, President of Diabetes New Zealand.

“It also clearly shows that a preventative approach to health will have a significant and beneficial impact on the risk of developing diabetes.

“New Zealanders need to understand more about diabetes, what the risk factors are and what must be done to prevent diabetes,” said Mr Middlemiss. “Many people do not understand they could be at risk or that uncontrolled or undetected diabetes can lead to complications of blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure or limb amputation.

“It is time for the Government to take note and act now,” said Mr Middlemiss.

In April of this year Diabetes New Zealand released a report which showed a different approach to delivering health services was needed. The report, undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers, recommended a much greater emphasis on prevention of diabetes through early diagnosis and intervention than is currently the practice.

“If the Government doesn’t act now the expenditure on Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) will rise from 2% to 12% of total public health spending.

“Diabetes New Zealand is calling for an additional $40 million package per annum to be put into prevention, services and a public health strategy focusing on prevention and education, said Mr Middlemiss.

“The Diabetes New Zealand report showed that an up-front investment will actually cost less in the middle to long term, but will significantly improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.”

For further information: Ian R Middlemiss
President
025 657 1826
The Diabetes New Zealand report is available on www.diabetes.org.nz

About the research
The research shows that otherwise healthy people, with impaired insulin production but who have not yet developed diabetes, can significantly improve there chances for developing type 2 diabetes (adult on-set diabetes). Changes to diet and intensive exercise several times a week before people develop impaired glucose tolerance (the next stage) appears to have a significantly beneficial impact. It is thought that 25% of the New Zealand population could have impaired insulin production, which is a major risk factor for diabetes. This is the first time research has been conducted for this group of insulin-sensitive people. A healthy diet and exercise are known to beneficial for people with diabetes. The study was conducted by Dr Kirsten McAuley, Department of Human Nutrition, Otago University.

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