Diabetes fight praised by AMA

Blacktown senior pediatrist Claire McGloin, Russell and Jude Knight and communications manager, integrated and community health Anita Ray at the National Diabetes Week stall at Blacktown Hospital.
Preventing diabetes is a key focus for Western Sydney Local Health District.

AMA (NSW) President, Dr Kean-Seng Lim, today welcomed NSW Health’s efforts to continue to raise awareness of the risks posed by undiagnosed type two diabetes.

“The research released by the Western Sydney Local Health District is the biggest study of its kind about the prevalence of type two diabetes in Australia,” Dr Kean-Seng Lim.

“The fact that it focuses on western Sydney, a known hotspot for the condition, is a good reminder to people in the area in which I work that it is more prevalent here.

“Just under half the population of western Sydney either have or are at very high risk of developing diabetes.

“The health effects of living with undiagnosed diabetes can be dire and include blindness, kidney problems, heart disease, and all-cause mortality.

“On the other hand, people with type two diabetes that is kept under good control can avoid many of the life-threatening and life-limiting complications that could otherwise result.

“And one of the best ways people can get diagnosis and the help they need once diabetes has been identified, is through their GP.

“It’s important to remember that the association between higher rates of type two diabetes in western Sydney when compared to elsewhere is not the fault of the people who have this health condition.

“All of us live in an obesogenic environment but it is undeniable that living in Sydney’s west makes it much easier to put on weight than elsewhere.

“The prevalence of fast food shops is much higher here than in other parts of Sydney, the ratio of fast food to fresh food outlets is much more skewed in favour of unhealthy eating as well.

“Access to public transport is poorer, there is less greenspace, and more people feel less safe in their own neighbourhoods, and this leads to less exercise.

“These are all factors that drive overweight, obesity, and type two diabetes and that means the solution to this problem cannot simply be to blame people because they didn’t exercise personal responsibility.

“The real solutions to this issue are much more complicated and will require help from all corners of society.

“This isn’t just a health problem, it’s one for councils, retail, and State and Federal Government and more.”