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Media Release

Diabetes prevention is a smart investment

More than 2.5 million Australian workers are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, new research shows.
Unless federal and state governments cooperatively fund a national diabetes prevention program, many of these workers can expect to develop diabetes in the next five years.
At the start of National Diabetes Week 8–14 July, Diabetes Australia has today launched a national campaign, Let’s Prevent Diabetes, calling on governments to fund a high-risk prevention program for type 2 diabetes.

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Media Contacts

For more information:

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Available for interview:

  • Prof Greg Johnson, Diabetes Australia National Policy Adviser
  • Jesse Martin, solo round the world yachtsman and campaign ambassador
  • Richard Voss, person who has prevented type 2 diabetes
  • Prof Stephen Colagiuri, Professor of Metabolic Health, University of Sydney
  • Cyclist Jim Houghton, Cafe de Lygon cycle group coordinator



Watch the video


Jesse Martin speaks out

Around the world solo yachtsman Jesse Martin got the ball rolling on the campaign at today’s launch on the steps of Melbourne’s Parliament House.

He voted yes for a diabetes prevention program.

“Lifejackets prevent drowning. Everyone knows that. Type 2 diabetes can also be prevented, but I didn’t know that. There are steps we can take to reduce the risk,” he says.

“Every year hundreds of people die from drowning whilst thousands die from diabetes. Just like education about lifejackets, education about type 2 diabetes should exist, because we can prevent it”.


Case Study - Richard

Small goals help Richard shed 50kg

At 136kg and with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a strong family history of diabetes, Richard Voss was at high risk of developing the life-threatening condition himself.

That was until he took the plunge and did Diabetes Australia – Vic’s type 2 diabetes prevention program Life!

Eighteen months on he is 50kg lighter, he eats a much healthier diet and he also exercises several times a week.

“I was overweight and not happy with myself. My dad died from diabetes this year, so I have always known about diabetes. I had tried to lose weight before but I couldn’t maintain it,” he says.

“The most important thing for me was to set goals that are reasonable and that have results which can be achieved. Do not set goals that make you give up. A goal like walking four times a week is good, even if you only walk a kilometre or two. Focus on what you can do not what you can’t do.”

“I’m a school teacher so a lot of the kids give me compliments like ‘gee you’re looking good’. It’s good to be able to go out and kick the footy with them. I couldn’t do that before.”


Case Study - Maxine

Healthy mind helps Maxine in diabetes battle

Maxine Risk used to feel so tired and lethargic that she kept a blanket and pillow in her car in case she needed a nap.

She was overweight, inactive and just generally feeling down before being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007.

“I was so lethargic. I was overweight and I just felt so fat and terrible. I knew I had to work and I couldn’t even get out of bed, and that was my turning point. Then all of a sudden I thought no, I’m losing weight,” she says.

Five years on, the 57-year-old Ngarrindjeri woman is a new person.

She is 13kg lighter, her blood glucose and body fat levels have dramatically improved. She is also exercising regularly and eating wholesome, healthy foods – and she feels great.

These positive changes have meant Maxine no longer needs medication to control her diabetes.

“Since I lost the weight you can’t stop my metabolism. I am on the go, you can’t keep me still. I’m in and out of the car, I’m here and there. I can drive six hours to Adelaide without having a sleep. I’m feeling more confident about myself. My self-esteem has hit the highs.”

Maxine says getting help from a dedicated diabetes educator made the biggest difference to her diabetes battle and for the first time she has been able to maintain her weight loss.

“Like a lot of Aboriginal people, they can’t see the benefits of going to see somebody when it’s basically yourself that’s got to fix it up. There’s no magic cure. Good education and help are so important.”


Case Study - Glen

Diagnosis can’t hold Glen back

Glen Chandler doesn’t let type 2 diabetes get in the way of her busy life.

Despite eating healthily and keeping fit, the retired foreign aid worker couldn’t manage to lose weight. After becoming “fed up” with her failed attempts, Glen visited her doctor and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two and a half years ago – but she didn’t let that diagnosis get her down.

“I thought, ‘Oh, what a bugger’ and then I thought I’ll have to watch a few things and I’ll have to get this blood testing kit, which is going to cost me some money, and I better stop knocking back ice-creams,” Glen, 67, says.

“I’m not a diabetic; I’ve got type 2 diabetes. It’s not my label. It’s not who I am. It doesn’t define me. It’s one aspect of what I’ve got to be careful of in my life. That’s how I treat it.”

A strong family history of diabetes meant Glen already had a good understanding of the condition.

She encourages other people living with type 2 diabetes to try hard to keep positive and “don’t let diabetes control you.”


Case Study - Marshall

Small, wholesome meals help Marshall reignite his love of running

From obesity to a half-marathon – that’s been Marshall Worthington’s motto since doing the Life! type 2 diabetes prevention program last year.

The 62-year-old has been a keen runner for decades, but in recent years his activity levels have decreased while his waistline expanded.

“I did a few marathons many years ago. I’d be playing footy all day and then the next day I’d run 20km. But I’d lost that. This weight really knocked me down and I wasn’t able to run. You get to the point where you can’t tie your shoelaces up without having trouble breathing. It’s pretty sad, but that was the reality,” he says.

The French language teacher had known for a while that something had to change. After WorkHealth checks found him to be at high risk of type 2 diabetes, he decided to take action and do the Life! program.

The program helped him to get his diet and exercise regime back on track, which in turn reignited his love of running.

“I have reduced my portions enormously now. Kim (the Life! course facilitator) removed my fear of eating in the evening. My plan was to not eat after 7pm, and I now feel very comfortable eating after 7pm, as long as I don’t eat junk,” he says.

“My eating lifestyle has changed drastically. I don’t eat rubbish but I’m also not crazy about it.”

Marshall is so pleased with his new healthy lifestyle, he thinks everyone should give the Life! program a go.

”It’s just been fantastic. I feel a lot cleaner, I feel a lot healthier, I’ve got a lot more energy. I’m just really grateful to the program, I think it’s fantastic,” he says.