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Up to 74 Victorians are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every day, according Diabetes Australia Victoria. The organisation’s recently released statistics indicate 27,000 diagnoses of the disease in the state last year, bringing the total number of Victorian residents living with Type 2 diabetes to 300,000. Worryingly, figures show that an additional 500,000 Victorians are categorised as being at “high risk” of diagnosis.
These figures are reflective of the landscape of Australian health as a whole: it’s predicted that, in merely two years’ time, diabetes will overtake heart disease as Australia’s number one cause of disease burden.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is what’s known as a “lifestyle disease”, since it can be brought on by poor dietary choices and a lack of physical exercise. This is good news for the 500,000 Victorians classified as prediabetic, as it means that, with better lifestyle choices, they can avoid a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
Craig Bennet, Chief Executive of Diabetes Australia Victoria, says that the benefits of positive lifestyle changes for Australians at risk of diabetes cannot be understated. "We have our work cut out and we're very keen for people to get the message that they need to eat well, exercise regularly and reduce their chances of getting diagnosed with what is a very difficult and complex disease.”, he said.
By exercising regularly and eating well, people can reduce their risk of a diabetes diagnosis by around 60%, Mr Bennet said. But it’s not just the one in four Victorians over the age of 25 classified as pre-diabetic who should be keeping diet and exercise in mind.
"We want all Victorians, whether they have diabetes or not, to eat well and be physically active," he said.
According to Better Health Victoria, there are several ways that people can reduce their risk of developing diabetes, including: