A community group focused on improving the health of Toongabbie residents is holding a community forum to educate residents on the dangers of diabetes and pre-diabetes.
In collaboration with Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD), Healthy Living Toongabbie (HLT) will hold an online community forum featuring Dr Rajini Jayaballa, staff specialist endocrinologist at Western Sydney Diabetes, Blacktown and Mt Druitt hospitals, and Professor Vicki Flood, from Western Sydney Local Health District and University of Sydney.
HLT was formed two years ago by a group of passionate Toongabbie health practitioners, business people and residents concerned at the high number of residents in their community with Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Western Sydney has a large multicultural population with a high proportion of people with a South East Asian or Indian background.
Toongabbie has a high number of residents of Sri Lankan descent.
“We thought, ‘we’re here to help’ – but how can we do that?” HLT President Monica Boules, said.
The group holds information stalls at the Toongabbie shopping centre, walkathons and information forums to encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle.
“Any opportunity that we can do to help make people aware of diabetes, we do it,” she said.
Dr Jayaballa will discuss diabetes and whether there is a cure, and about the need for early detection and the importance of people working with their General Practitioner to know their HbA1c score.
She said particular ethnic backgrounds are at higher risk than others.
“Our hospital and community detection has revealed that nearly half the population in Western Sydney have diabetes or pre-diabetes,” Dr Jayaballa said.
“It is important to get the message out there for people to see their doctors to get screened for diabetes, and to manage diabetes well, early, so as to minimise or prevent the diabetes-related complications.
“Weight is big factor driving type 2 diabetes. Losing weight through healthy lifestyle and diet can reverse the diabetes for some people. For others, even if they don’t reverse their diabetes, it can still help improve their diabetes a great deal.”
Professor Flood will present two healthy food demonstrations and lead a discussion on the nutritional benefits of vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains.
“I love the opportunity to share research findings, and this is a great way to bring it to life, by cooking and discussing food together,” Prof Flood said.
The “home cook” will show from her own kitchen that it is not hard to include more vegetables on our dinner plate and try a new recipe with grains other than rice.
Ms Boules said the forum is the best way to educate the community and raise awareness of what people can do, what they can prevent, and how they can do it.
“We’ve got the best of the best on this forum,” Ms Boules said.
“On one end we have a doctor that will go into depth about the condition, its symptoms, and its management, and then at the other end, actually how to live a healthy life, even if you do have diabetes.”
WSLHD invests approximately $2 million annually for the Western Sydney Diabetes initiative.
Details: 7pm-8pm, Thursday, September 10, 2020, via Facebook LIVE and Zoom.
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