What is the aim of the campaign?

The Let’s Prevent Diabetes campaign is a call to action. It’s about calling on Federal and State governments to fund a national type 2 diabetes prevention program for Australians at high risk.

It is also a grassroots campaign encouraging all Australians to support us in our call to government.

For decades governments have prevented road accidents through the requirement of seat belts, prevented head injuries thorough the requirement of helmets and prevented drownings through the requirement of life jackets. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on these prevention programs

But when it comes to type 2 diabetes, where we know we can prevent this serious condition for those at high risk, we have no national approach.

We know type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, so why don’t we do it?

We want all Australians to back our calls. We want people with diabetes, their families, friends and work colleagues, as well as MPs, councils and others to add their voice to our campaign by visiting this website from Sunday 8 July 2012.

Why focus on diabetes prevention?

In Australia alone 275 people develop diabetes every day. It is the epidemic of the 21st century.

There are an estimated 2 million Australian adults who have pre-diabetes and are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in this high-risk group. Research shows that most people do not think diabetes is a serious illness and underestimate their personal risk.

What does Diabetes Australia want governments to do?

Currently, the type 2 prevention programs available in Australia are very limited. Victoria is the only state with a program (which is funded by the state government) for people aged over 50. That is far from enough.

We want type 2 diabetes prevention programs to be available in every state for the 2 million Australians at high risk. We also want systematic risk assessments for people over 40.

What can people do to support the campaign?

  1. Come along and show your support for a national diabetes prevention program at the launch of the Let’s Prevent Diabetes campaign at 11am on Sunday 8 July 2012 on the steps of Parliament House, Spring Street, East Melbourne.
  2. Visit www.letspreventdiabetes from 8 July 2012 and add your voice to our campaign. On this website you are asked to back our calls by answering yes to a simple question and writing to your local MPs. Don’t forget to send the link to your friends, families, workmates, schools, councils and everyone in between – the more people who visit our website the stronger our chance of getting governments to take action.

Why is the campaign important for people with pre-diabetes?

Around 2 million Australians have pre-diabetes and are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes – we want to reduce that number, but we can’t do it alone.

 What is pre-diabetes?

Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) are conditions where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The term ‘pre-diabetes’ is often used to describe these conditions.

People with pre-diabetes have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Why is the campaign important for people with type 2 diabetes?

We need people with type 2 diabetes to be our biggest voice. You have been diagnosed with diabetes so you know how it affects your life. But if you were given the chance to prevent it we know you would jump at it. If you had been shown the impact that diabetes would have on your life before you were diagnosed, we know it would have helped motivate you to do something to reduce your chances of developing it. That’s what we want governments to do – get serious about the most serious threat to Australians’ health and productivity and fund a national diabetes prevention program for those at high risk.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when a person’s insulin is not working effectively (insulin resistance) or their pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin, or a combination of both. Type 2 diabetes:

  • Represents 85–90 per cent of all cases of diabetes
  • Usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years but is increasingly occurring at a younger age
  • Is more likely to develop in people with a family history or from particular ethnic backgrounds
  • Symptoms may be similar to those for type 1 diabetes. Other symptoms can include: frequent infections (thrush, urinary tract or skin infections) and slow wound healing. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not have any symptoms.
  • For some people the first indication of diabetes coincides with a complication of diabetes such as a heart attack, foot ulcer or stroke
  • Can be managed with a healthy lifestyle and regular medical checks in the early stages, but eventually medications and/or insulin may be required. It is estimated that after 7–10 years of having diabetes, 60 per cent of people will require insulin.

Who is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes?

  • People with pre-diabetes
  • People who are inactive
  • People who have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • People who are overweight or obese
  • People with high blood pressure and/or abnormal fats or a history of cardiovascular disease
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • People from certain ethnic backgrounds
  • Women who have had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
  • Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome and are overweight
  • Smokers
  • People taking antipsychotic medication

Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

Yes. Prevention in those at high risk is proven, possible and powerful

Can people prevent type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.

What is AUSDRISK?

The AUSDRISK (Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool) was developed in 2008 as part of an Australian Government health initiative aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes, raising awareness of and detecting undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

What does the AUSDRISK do?

The tool assesses a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next five years, based on a score for risk factors such as age, gender, country of birth, family history of diabetes, history of high blood pressure, smoking status, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity levels and waist circumference. Those with a score of 12 or more are encouraged to speak to their GP and to consider participating in a lifestyle modification program, such as the Life! program in Victoria or type 2 diabetes prevention programs in other states.

Take the test now

What about people with type 1 diabetes? Why should they support the campaign?

We all know that there are differences and links between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, the impact of the condition on individuals and our community does not differentiate and there is an overall need for a national type 2 diabetes prevention program funded and supported by all governments.

We need your help to make this happen.

While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, an estimated 60 per cent of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented. We need people with type 1 diabetes to support the campaign by jumping online and voting for governments to take action and fund a national type 2 diabetes prevention program. We need them to keep up the conversation on Facebook and Twitter and support all people with diabetes.

Remember that National Diabetes Week is about raising awareness of diabetes. This year’s message is about the prevention of type 2 diabetes, while in November, World Diabetes Day focuses on supporting all people with diabetes.

How is the Let’s Prevent Diabetes campaign funded?

This campaign is funded by Diabetes Australia’s member organisations and Novo Nordisk.

Diabetes Australia is the peak body for diabetes in Australia. It is our responsibility to champion the needs of all individuals living with diabetes and all those at risk of developing diabetes.