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Acting to reduce diabetes impact would help millions of Australians enjoy better health


Thursday 4 July 2024 AEST

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (ACDPA) welcomes the Committee Report from the Inquiry into Diabetes, The State of Diabetes Mellitus in Australia’, presented in Parliament this week.


Diabetes affects millions of Australians and is often experienced with other chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and stroke, complicating management and health outcomes for people affected.


The diagnosed prevalence of type 2 diabetes has more than doubled in the past two decades. This type of diabetes is most associated with risk factors including diet, physical inactivity, and tobacco use.


The prevalence of obesity has also increased over the past 20 years. Linked to several chronic conditions, overweight or obesity affects 26 per cent of children and 66 per cent of adults.


“The Committee’s report identifies a comprehensive suite of measures which we hope can be implemented quickly and collectively to reverse these disease trends.” said Chris Forbes, Chair of ACDPA and CEO of Kidney Health Australia.


“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) Australia’s Health 2024 report highlights that while many Australians can expect to live long lives, governments need to make it easier for more people to enjoy better health for longer,” said Mr Forbes.


The AIHW’s biennial report highlights that diet continues to be a leading modifiable risk factor of illness in Australia, together with tobacco use, physical inactivity, and high blood pressure.


ACDPA commends the Committee’s attention to better nourishing Australians, with recommendations highlighting the need to improve access to healthy food; a reformulation levy on sugary drinks; restricting advertising of unhealthy food and drinks to children; and improved and mandated food labelling to support healthy food choices.


“There is a necessary sense of urgency throughout the report, including in the committee’s recommendations to tackle obesogenic environments, and develop physical activity initiatives and opportunities support exercise in schools and neighbourhoods” said Lucy Westerman, Executive Officer of ACDPA. 


“Not only is being more active good for us physically, but improves mental health too. With physical and mental health conditions topping burden of disease charts, and often co-existing, we must better consider the health impact of all policies and partnerships so that they improve wellbeing, rather than causing harm” Ms Westerman said.


A common theme in the report is that the food industry’s voluntary and self-regulatory approaches are consistently insufficient to drive the improvements needed in the food system to reduce the impact of diet related conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity.


Implementing the committee’s recommendations will improve the lives of individuals at risk of, or living with, diabetes and numerous other chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancers, which remain among the leading causes of preventable illness and early death in Australia.


“We hope for a decisive government response which will enable more Australians to enjoy better health sooner: there’s no time to waste.” concluded Ms Westerman.


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About ACDPA:

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (ACDPA) brings together Diabetes Australia; Cancer Council Australia; National Heart Foundation of Australia; Kidney Health Australia; the National Stroke Foundation and the Lung Foundation. These leading non-government health organisations share a commitment to reducing burden of chronic disease attributable to modifiable risk factors and delayed detection. ACDPA members work together to support primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases, focussing on chronic disease risk factors and determinants to reduce preventable illness; and promoting health checks to support people to understand, manage and reduce disease risk as early as possible.   ||   @ACDPAlliance on X & LinkedIn

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