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New Zealanders Implored to Own Up

NEW ZEALANDERS IMPLORED TO OWN UP AND STEP UP TO COUNTRY’S FASTEST-GROWING HEALTH CRISIS

Diabetes New Zealand unveils initiatives to help Kiwis tackle health epidemic

Diabetes New Zealand is challenging the nation to stop turning a blind eye to New Zealand’s fastest-growing health crisis and commit to tackling the epidemic that is costing the country millions of dollars.

Launching its inaugural Diabetes Action Month campaign today, Diabetes New Zealand Chief Executive Steve Crew says diabetes affects not only the quarter of a million people who live with the disease, it also affects the whole nation, and it is time the country took steps to remedy the appalling increase in the condition.

The number of New Zealanders living with diabetes has doubled from 125,000 to 250,000 in the past 10 years, with 40 new diabetes diagnoses every day. It is estimated a further 1.1million people have prediabetes and a high risk of developing diabetes.

“Diabetes places a great burden on families, communities and the country as a whole,” Crew says. “As a nation we pay our part though our taxes - we now need to play our part through our actions.

“Everyone is at risk of diabetes. One in four people is believed to have prediabetes. That’s more than a million people, who in many cases, could prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes with a healthy lifestyle of nutritional eating and regular exercise. We all need to empower those people to make better lifestyle choices and support them as they make changes.”

Diabetes Action Month aims to tackle the New Zealand diabetes epidemic by compelling the nation to be more aware of their risk factors for diabetes; and to take action by joining Diabetes New Zealand’s move for a healthier New Zealand.

“We are starting a movement, a campaign to support New Zealanders so they can live healthier lives,” Crew says. “We are all meant to move, so we want the country to ‘Join the MoveMeant’.”

Diabetes New Zealand today launched a range of initiatives to try to stem the rising trend of new diagnoses. These include:

• Creating an online risk awareness tool so everyone in New Zealand can know their risk of diabetes.

• Conducting in a nationwide roadshow of 33 locations in 14 towns and cities – with a mobile awareness team helping people understand their risks, and encouraging exercise and healthy eating. Locations include the weekend markets at Otara, Avondale and Wellington, university campuses and Parliament.

• Holding the first Diabetes NZ Fitbit MoveMeant Day with more than 35 sporting facilities around the country offering free services on November 28 – to get people more active.

• Signing up to Join the MoveMeant are a group of high-profile people, who are taking part in the Diabetes NZ Fitbit MoveMeant Challenge – committing to doing 10,000 steps a day (and competing to rank the highest each week.) These are people with connections to diabetes – or concerned about the rising statistics - and determined to do more to raise awareness. They include Bronagh Key, former Silver Fern Irene van Dyk whose husband Christie has type 1 diabetes, cricketing legend Dipak Patel, international sports player Sophie Devine, healthy eating advocates Michael van Elzen and Niki Bezzant and a range of media personalities.

Crew says that diabetes is a national health crisis, and we all need to stop viewing it as someone else’s problem.

“We are on a mission to improve the diabetes tally and combat the trend, one New Zealander at a time. Diabetes is New Zealand’s issue – everyone is at risk of diabetes, and everyone can affect change,” Crew adds.

Unveiling a five-year plan to tackle diabetes last month, Health and Sport Minister Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman said the Ministry of Health’s aim was to give people the tools to better manage their own health.

“Type 2 diabetes, in particular, is a serious health challenge for our country. My vision is for all New Zealanders with diabetes, or at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, to live well and have access to high-quality services that meet their unique needs.”

For more information and to #JointheMoveMeant, please visit diabetes.org.nz/home or facebook.com/diabetesnz.

ENDS

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