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Diabetes enrolments double over five years

5 July 2006

Diabetes enrolments double over five years

The doubling of the number of New Zealanders taking advantage of free diabetes check-ups is a sobering reminder of how large New Zealand's diabetes epidemic has become, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

In 2001, 34,037 New Zealanders with diabetes had an annual 'Get Checked' test but by 2005, this had more than doubled to 70,456.

Pete Hodgson said he was pleased to see so many people with diabetes getting the support they needed, but that more needs to be done to get people enrolled in 'Get Checked' programmes and work on prevention needs to accelerate rapidly.

"Diabetes is one of New Zealand's leading causes of death and one of our most pressing public health challenges," Pete Hodgson said. "The 'Get Checked' programme aims to improve the health of people with diabetes through active monitoring of a person's physical health and lifestyle.

"In just five years the number of enrollees has more than doubled to over 70,000. The management of diabetes is now a massive undertaking for New Zealand's health community."

Current estimates are that about 125,000 New Zealanders have been diagnosed with diabetes with around 5,000 diagnosed in just the last year. Over 200,000 people are thought to have the disease.

The 'Get Checked' programme sets annual targets for enrolling people with diabetes. Despite the rapid progress in increasing enrollments, the programme is still not meeting its target goals. By the end of 2006, the goal is to have over 85,000 people enrolled for regular check ups.

"We're moving the goal posts every year as the diabetic population grows and every year thousands more people are getting better advice to help them manage their diabetes more effectively. But we still haven't caught up with the rapid growth in the number of people with diabetes.

"We need to keep working to get people enrolled for regular check ups. We also need to step up our efforts to prevent the growth in type 2 diabetes with a much greater focus on obesity prevention, physical activity and nutrition."

Pete Hodgson has announced previously that 'getting ahead of the curve' on New Zealand's chronic disease burden – including diabetes – was one of his top priorities.


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