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Calls for more to be done to halt the diabetes epidemic

New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) calls for more to be done to halt the diabetes epidemic

14th November 2013

Diabetes is a common chronic disease with significant morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. “Seven per cent of New Zealand’s adult population aged 15 years and over has diabetes,” says Dr Jeremy Krebs, President of the NZ Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD).

“Over one-quarter of the adult population have pre-diabetes and are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The numbers with pre-diabetes, on top of an already-high national diabetes rate, is a major concern, a tsunami in the waiting.” he adds.

Diabetes education and prevention is the focus of World Diabetes Day, today 14 November.

NZSSD would like to see more done by government, councils, industry and the community to help people with pre-diabetes and diabetes follow healthier diets and increase their daily physical activity. For those with pre-diabetes, sustained lifestyle changes prevent progression to type 2 diabetes, and for those with established diabetes sustained lifestyle changes improves blood sugar control and prevents or delays the onset and progression of complications. These include kidney failure, visual impairment including blindness, heart disease and lower limb amputation. “The health sector is already struggling with the need to treat and manage the increasing number of people with diabetes complications, particularly kidney failure.” says Dr Krebs.

“Increasing efforts to help people make and sustain such lifestyle changes is critical to turning the diabetes tide. Having primary care and specialist health professionals, who can assess individual circumstances and provide regular advice and encouragement, as well as a supportive environment both at home and the wider community are critical.”

“Accordingly, the New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes would like to see increased efforts towards the prevention of type 2 diabetes, particularly assisting the almost 1 million adult New Zealanders with pre-diabetes.” he says.

ENDS

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