Doctors and public health researchers say shocking diabetes rates can be reduced

(Medical Xpress) -- Leading medical specialists, public health researchers and nutritionists warn that not enough is being done to prevent the rapidly increasing diabetes rates, largely caused by significant increases in obesity in adults and children in recent years.

Between 1989 and 1997 the average in adults was 3.2 kg, and the results of the latest Adult Nutrition Survey to be released in September are likely to show that trend is continuing.

The warning comes in an open letter to the New Zealand Medical Journal, which criticises the cutting of and programmes by the Government.

It points to the axing of the National Healthy Eating Health Action Strategy, Mission On, and the requirement for schools to provide healthy food amongst others.

The 12 signatories say diabetes is now a huge health equity issue as it impacts disproportionately on Māori and Pacific and low-income New Zealanders. It is also a major factor in the multi-million dollar cost of kidney dialysis, with 40-48% of those on dialysis because of diabetes-related kidney failure.

“Obesity accounts for more than 80% of preventable diabetes in New Zealand and is not being vigorously addressed, in fact many preventive programmes have been cut,” says researcher Associate Professor Louise Signal from the University of Otago, Wellington.

“We have alarmingly high rates of diabetes, they’re getting worse, and we compare very poorly with other OECD countries according to the June edition of the British journal the Lancet. Health professionals have been warning about this incipient health crisis for years.”

They say that 63% of adults are now either overweight or obese with this trend continuing. “The worrying thing is that even now 2%-7% of the health budget ($12.6 billion) is linked to people being overweight or obese. Obesity-related is costing us hundreds of millions a year and rising,” says Signal.

The letter identifies nine urgent preventive actions that should be taken:

• Implement a national nutrition and physical activity strategy as recommended by the World Health Organization.
• Reinstate the requirement for schools to sell only .
• Introduce a simple front-of-pack ‘traffic light’ nutritional labelling programme which shows how healthy the product is as recommended in the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy report (2011).
• Make sure people on low incomes have enough money for a healthy diet.
• Continue to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour; e.g. reinstate the recently cut Push Play programme.
• Extend the healthy nutrition marketing programmes from the Health Sponsorship Council to include physical activity.
• Ban the marketing of junk food to children, including the self-regulatory and ineffective system governing junk food advertising.
• Increase regulation of the food and beverage industry to encourage healthy eating.
• Reduce health inequities, particularly in relation to child health.

Related Stories

One in four Irish men now obese

date Apr 04, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Over the past 20 years obesity has increased more than three-fold in men and 1.7-fold in women in Ireland, according to a new national survey. Almost 26% of men are now obese, up from 8% in 1990. In women, ...

Legislating to promote healthy eating and physical activity

date Feb 16, 2010

Governments and experts are calling for action to combat the medical, economic and social costs of rising rates of preventable conditions like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, states an article ...

Tips for battling a deadly heat wave

date Jul 19, 2011

Forecasters are predicting this week’s heat wave to be one of the hottest this summer. A Loyola physician is available to comment on staying safe.

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

date Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

date Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

Insurer Aetna to buy Humana in $35B deal

date Jul 03, 2015

Aetna will spend about $35 billion to buy rival Humana and become the latest health insurer bulking up on government business as the industry adjusts to the federal health care overhaul.

Feeling impulsive or frustrated? Take a nap

date Jul 03, 2015

Taking a nap may be an effective strategy to counteract impulsive behavior and to boost tolerance for frustration, according to a University of Michigan study.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.