Change4Life Big change is head­ing to Western Syd­ney

Pro­fes­sor Glen Maberly’s mis­sion is to halt the type 2 tsunami in Western Syd­ney

Diabetic Living - - Contents -

At least 10 per cent of Aus­tralians have di­a­betes with up to 90 per cent of those deal­ing with type 2. Within that, Western Syd­ney is a “di­a­betes hotspot” with 1.5 times higher rates of type 2 than the rest of the coun­try. Pro­fes­sor Glen Maberly and his team at Western Syd­ney Di­a­betes

(WSD) are lead­ing the cru­sade to find an ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion for this high-risk pop­u­la­tion. “Our goals are to get our pop­u­la­tion to lose an av­er­age of two ki­los, and bring the preva­lence of di­a­betes and high blood glu­cose in Western Syd­ney to less than the state av­er­age within five years,” says Prof. Maberly.

In­ter­cep­tion is key

Preven­tion and screen­ing pro­grams are crit­i­cal in halt­ing the ris­ing di­a­betes rates. Along with nu­mer­ous other ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing sup­port groups, WSD puts peo­ple in touch with phone and on­line health coach­ing pro­grams and is work­ing on ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic about the grav­ity of type 2. “Di­a­betes is the most ex­pen­sive thing in our health sys­tem and is the lead­ing cause of heart at­tacks, strokes, blind­ness and am­pu­ta­tions,” says Prof. Maberly.

He stresses that sim­ple ac­tions can be taken to help pre­vent type 2 such as re­turn­ing to a health­ier weight. Between 1995 and 2012, Australia’s na­tional av­er­age weight in­creased four ki­los. “If peo­ple at risk lose two ki­los then 30 per cent won’t get di­a­betes,” says Prof. Maberly. “It seems amaz­ing but you don’t lose mus­cle; you lose two ki­los of fat.”

Long-term plan

In mid-2017, WSD started their long-term preven­tion plan in the City of Black­town that will be rolled out to the rest of Western Syd­ney. GPs have started walk­ing groups, and schools are grow­ing fresh vegie gar­dens to teach stu­dents about healthy eat­ing. WSD is also talk­ing to gov­ern­ments, coun­cils, busi­nesses and other or­gan­i­sa­tions about im­prov­ing the re­gion so fresh food and ex­er­cise spa­ces are more ac­ces­si­ble. It’s a big job but WSD is com­mit­ted.

So, what does that look like? Screen­ing for high risk

Life­style coach­ing

Hospi­tal­based ser­vices En­hanced pa­tient, gen­eral prac­tice and al­lied health di­a­betes man­age­ment.

“There is a tsunami of di­a­betes com­ing and if we only fo­cus on the cu­ra­tive side it’s like mop­ping up wa­ter that is flow­ing from a tap,” says Prof. Maberly. “We’re try­ing to turn off the tap.”

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