Friday, 10 August 2007

Australian obesity crisis fuels diabetes epidemic

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Type 2 diabetes, mate? By crikey. Australia's diabetes epidemic continues to be a problem. News this week indicates the spread of obesity, and with it associated conditions like Type 2 diabetes, in rural areas is far worse than previously realized. A survey of 806 randomly selected adults (okay, not the biggest sample, admittedly) found that a great many are affected by the disease.

Based on their findings from that survey, researchers calculate that almost three-quarters of Aussie men living in rural areas are overweight. They think women in rural areas may be slightly better-off - around two-thirds may be overweight. This puts rural Australians at a very high risk for T2DM. The conclusion, stated in the Medical Journal of Australia: "urgent population-wide action is required to tackle the problem."

As is the case in the US, a big concern is how to treat all those people as they age and their overall health worses. Specifically, what will become of Australia's public healthcare system? "We might get a whole generation, now in their 40s, 50s and 60s, who will do markedly worse than their parents," predicts lead researcher for the study, Professor Edward Janus of Melbourne's Western Hospital.

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