A SNAPSHOT of the rate of type two diabetes in Australia shows Glenelg Shire significantly above the national average.
New mapping reveals 7.1 per cent of Glenelg Shire residents have some form of diabetes, compared with the Australian average of 5.6 per cent.
Of Glenelg residents with diabetes, 85.2 per cent have type two. That percentage is the same for the Warrnambool City local government area, where five per cent of residents have diabetes.
Type two diabetes can result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
However, the risk is greatly increased where there are lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, excess weight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, poor diet and the classic “apple shape” body where extra weight is carried around the waist. Leading south-west health expert Professor James Dunbar said although there was more awareness of type two diabetes more action was needed, similar to efforts to cut smoking rates.
“We need to go beyond the point of trying to persuade people, to government legislation and regulation in order to get change,” he said.
Professor Dunbar is the director of the Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health based at Deakin University in Warrnambool, and said the mapping data reflected socio-economic circumstances in various communities.
The online map combines Australian census population data with the latest National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) data to reflect the prevalence of diabetes at a national, state, electorate, local government areas and postcode levels for all types of diabetes. In Corangamite Shire 5.7 per cent of people have some form of diabetes — 87.5 per cent being type two.
In the Colac Otway Shire the figures are 5.3 per cent and 86.7 per cent.
People in the Moyne Shire fared relatively well. Only 4.8 per cent of the population have been diagnosed with some form of diabetes, of which 84.4 per cent are type two.
Diabetes Australia CEO Greg Johnson said the online figures provided an up-to-date insight into the true impact of diabetes in Australia.
But because registration to the NDSS was voluntary, the true extent of the epidemic was even worse, he said.
“There is the additional problem of silent, undiagnosed type two diabetes in the hundreds of thousands. So there are more than 1.5 million Australians now with diabetes,” Mr Johnson said.