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Increased Funding For Diabetes Control Welcomed

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Increased Funding For Diabetes Control Welcomed

The New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes and Diabetes New Zealand welcome the increased funding of $48 million for diabetes and other long-term conditions programmes recently announced in the budget.

“This new funding recognises the increasingly serious health burden that the obesity epidemic and related rise in rates of diabetes is placing on individuals and our $14 billion dollar health system,” says president of the NZSSD, Dr Jeremy Krebs.

“Type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming 8% per annum in the whole population and at a greater rate in Maori, Pacific and Indian groups. It must also be remembered that rates of type 1 diabetes are also increasing.”

Dr Krebs stresses that it is important we identify early those 20,000 people with new diabetes each year so that we can put in place effective management systems to minimise the long term complications of diabetes, such as heart and kidney failure, blindness and limb amputations.

“However robust evidenced-based research which is relevant to New Zealand social conditions is also absolutely vital in terms of implementing effective policy to halt our relentless increase in diabetes,” he says.

Dr Krebs says the NZSSD and Diabetes New Zealand are pleased to see funding increased in the budget to support the local diabetes care improvement programmes being developed to replace ‘Get Checked’.

“It must be a priority for District Health Boards to use this opportunity to focus this increased funding on achieving better uptake of effective evidence-based programmes by people with diabetes or pre-diabetes,” he says.

The NZSSD says it is urgent that the thousands of people with pre-diabetes conditions are identified as soon as possible so both diet and lifestyle interventions that are effective in preventing or delaying the progression to diabetes can be delivered to them. This budget goes some way to targeting this.

Dr Krebs emphasises it is vitally important to realise that strategies which focus on nutrition and activity together are much more effective than those that focus on exercise alone.

“It’s incorrect to believe that exercise on its own is enough to combat obesity and being over-weight,” he says. “Major changes need to be made to what people eat, and how much as well. That’s scientifically proven, despite perceptions to the contrary by many people who seem to think going for a walk is enough to keep their weight under control.”

NZSSD looks forward to working with the Ministry of Health to ensure that funding is directed to interventions with good research evidence for effectiveness and that we monitor the outcomes of these interventions and build on improvements in diabetes care year-on-year.

ENDS

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