NACCHO Aboriginal Health news: Diabetes is set to “bankrupt the Australian health system”,

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Professor Alex Brown, head of the Aboriginal Research Unit at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, said a majority of adults over 50 in some Indigenous communities will have it.

“It is probably the leading cause of preventable blindness in Aboriginal Australia,” he said.

A MASSIVE rise in diabetes is set to “bankrupt the Australian health system”, experts warned today after the release of a World Diabetes Atlas showing the looming health catastrophe.

As published in NEWS LTD

Twenty years ago, an alarming rise in the disease led to forecasts it would reach 100 million cases worldwide this year – instead it has rocked to 382 million and is on a trajectory to reach almost 600 million by 2035, or 1 in 10 people.

There will be more than five million deaths from the disease this year and the bill for care, medication and treatment will hit US$548 billion. Plus there are an estimated 175 million cases that are undiagnosed.

Release of the report ahead of the World Diabetes Congress in Melbourne next month shows 1.7 million Australians now have it, a similar number are at risk and by 2035 some 2.3 million Australians will have it.

Congress chairman Professor Paul Zimmet of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute said it was a looming catastrophe.

“Unless we do something about it, it is going to have very severe effects on the national economy,” he said.

“Along with obesity it is the largest public health issue the world faces, with the potential to actually bankrupt the Australian health system.”

  The most common form of diabetes – Type 2, which is associated with lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise – was previously only seen in adults but now is being seen in children in Australia.

Complications can include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, feet problems leading to amputation, sleep apnoea, and fatty liver. It is also on track to overtake alcohol as the major cause of cirrhosis of the liver.

The atlas shows South East Asia and the Western Pacific as the regions with the highest rates, with up to one in three adults in Pacific island of Tokelau having the disease.

It also shows the heavy impact the disease is having on indigenous peoples around the world as lifestyles and diet change, such as various American Indian tribes as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Professor Alex Brown, head of the Aboriginal Research Unit at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, said a majority of adults over 50 in some indigenous communities will have it.

“It is probably the leading cause of preventable blindness in Aboriginal Australia,” he said.

He noted a move by Aboriginal elders in the Kimberley to revert to traditional lifestyles and diet has seen significant improvements in the disease rate but this was unlikely to be a wide-scale solution.

President of the International Diabetes Federation Sir Michael Hirst said diabetes is a disease of development.

“The misconception that diabetes is ‘a disease of the wealthy’ is still held, to the detriment of desperately needed funding to combat the pandemic,” he said.

“Today, on World Diabetes Day, we must continue to increase awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity. Crucially, environments must be created that lay the foundations for healthy living.”

NACCHO Aboriginal health Monday snapshot: 19 August 2013

ANU

1. Save the date: Commitment to Indigenous Health: Local and National Contributions to meeting the Challenges – Canberra – 2 October 2013

The Indigenous Health Interest Group is holding our second research showcase in October 2013, Commitment to Indigenous Health: Local and National Contributions to Meeting the Challenges. The event is co-sponsored by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

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2. Save the date: ‘Heart of the Centre’ – Alice Springs – 3 – 4 October 2013

This educational symposium is designed for health professionals who are working with the impact of chronic diseases in Indigenous communities, in particular cardiovascular disease and its complications.

Local and national experts will discuss the latest evidence and relevance to the NT experience.  The Symposium is aimed at all health professionals, including GPs, clinical specialists, hospital staff, remote health and allied health staff.  Aboriginal Health Practitioners and AHWs are encouraged to attend this educational event.

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3. Save the date: World Diabetes Congress – Melbourne – 2 – 6 December 2013

The World Diabetes Congress is one of the world’s largest health-related events. It brings together healthcare professionals, diabetes associations, policy-makers and companies to share the latest findings in diabetes research and best practice.

National obesity strategy a ‘wasteful failure’ Professor Zimmet

Big Mac

In 2009, the federal government’s preventive health  taskforce proposed measures to combat obesity, including increased taxes on  unhealthy food,  a ban on junk food marketing to children, exercise programs in  schools and workplaces and an urban planning overhaul to boost physical  activity.

Should warning labels be on  products other than cigarettes (introduced 1 December 2012)

With obesity, we are where we were with tobacco about 50  years ago.

In a speech to be delivered at a health summit in Canberra  on Monday 3 December , Professor Zimmet, director emeritus at Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart  and Diabetes Institute, argued there is no political will to reduce  obesity.

By Jill Stark The AGE

THE political response to Australia’s obesity epidemic has  been a ”failure”,  and $49 million spent on healthy lifestyle advertising  campaigns was a ”waste of taxpayers’ money”, a key government adviser  claims.

Professor Paul Zimmet, a member of former prime minister  Kevin Rudd’s preventive health taskforce, says the government’s strategy to  fight the fat is ”weak and fragmented”.

He says he would not have agreed to be on the taskforce –  set up to find ways to reduce the burden of alcohol, tobacco and obesity – if he  had known most of its obesity recommendations would be ignored.

In a speech to be delivered at a health summit in Canberra  on Monday 3 December , Professor Zimmet, director emeritus at Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart  and Diabetes Institute, will argue there is no political will to reduce  obesity.

  SMH

While congratulating the government for its action on  tobacco control,  he claims it has taken the ”easy option” on obesity, with  ineffective social marketing campaigns.

”The government seems to not have the stomach for obesity  prevention. What is being done at present is fragmented and weak and does not  constitute a serious attempt to tackle the problem,” Professor Zimmet said.

”This is one of the biggest drivers of disease – it  drives type two diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and certain cancers. It’s a  huge load on the community so it’s very disappointing there is no national  effective strategy, despite the taskforce making it very clear that it was the  whole package that was important, not isolated bits and pieces.”

In 2009, the federal government’s preventive health  taskforce proposed measures to combat obesity, including increased taxes on  unhealthy food,  a ban on junk food marketing to children, exercise programs in  schools and workplaces and an urban planning overhaul to boost physical  activity.

But Professor Zimmet said the measures had not been  adopted and money had been squandered on social marketing campaigns such as the  ”Swap It, Don’t Stop It” and ”Measure Up” healthy lifestyle campaigns.

”To spend more than $40 million on social marketing  campaigns without having an integrated strategy is a waste of money. It’s  achieved very little because campaigns like that can’t be done in isolation  without addressing better parks, …  improved food access, addressing indigenous  diabetes and heart disease rates. So really the whole approach to the problem  has been a failure.”

Fellow preventive health taskforce member Mike Daube,  director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute, is  also disappointed by the  government’s lack of action on obesity.

”With obesity, we are where we were with tobacco about 50  years ago. We’re fat, we’re getting fatter and the junk food industry is  immensely powerful, so strong public education needs to be allied with tough  measures, such as dealing with food advertising or food formulation,” Professor  Daube said. ”Having said that, the government has been sensational on tobacco  and you can understand them not wanting to take on every major industry at  once.”

Professor Zimmet will be among a range of speakers at  Monday’s summit, ”Obesity: Changing the Rhetoric, Solutions for the Future”,  organised by newly formed public health lobby group Obesity Australia.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said figures show  childhood obesity rates have stabilised.

”The success Australia has experienced in reducing  tobacco has been the result of 30 years of co-ordinated effort. A similar  long-term view is required to address obesity,” he said.

  ■jstark@theage.com.au

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/obesity-strategy-a-wasteful-failure-20121201-2ao3x.html#ixzz2DrbxhyoI