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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 671


Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (11:22): I would like to thank my good friend and member for Hasluck for putting forward this motion on diabetes. I would like to take a few notes out of the motion just to set the scene for where we are with diabetes in Australia. Diabetes is a serious health concern, with an estimated 382 million people worldwide living with the disease. The motion also recognises that some eight per cent of Australians are currently living with diabetes and, by 2035, some 14 per cent of Australians will be living with diabetes. Worst of all, incidences of diabetes are three to four times higher in Indigenous communities than in the broader population. The motion goes on to call on the government, individuals, families, communities, healthcare services and industry, to take urgent action to:

(a) ensure prevention of diabetes;

(b) improve early diagnosis of diabetes;

(c) support ongoing research into treatment and medications for diabetes; and

(d) effectively manage and treat diabetes …

I also think it is worthwhile noting that the government has committed to developing a new national diabetes strategy to inform how existing resources can be better coordinated and targeted across all levels of government and to prioritise a national response and existing resources through an emphasis on prevention; early diagnosis and intervention; and management and treatment, including the role of primary care.

As we all know, there are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type I diabetes requires a different approach. One misconception of type I diabetes is that it is lifestyle related, but that is not the case. Type I diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the pancreas stops making insulin needed to break down the sugar from food into energy. The consequences of that can be deadly.

There is ongoing research into finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, with the federal government recently making an election commitment of $35 million as a contribution to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's clinical research network.

In relation to type 2 diabetes, there are some 10,500 individuals in the electorate of Forde who live with type 2 diabetes. According to Diabetes Queensland, your risk for type 2 diabetes is higher if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes; developed diabetes during pregnancy; are more than 40 years of age; are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; do not get enough exercise; have high blood pressure; are overweight; have a waist measurement of more than 94 centimetres for men and 80 centimetres for women; or have a poor diet containing too much fatty or sugary food. I think it is obvious that, in order to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, some of the things that can be done are reducing the amount of fat and sugar in your diet; eating healthy foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables; losing weight; exercising for more than 30 minutes a day; and reducing your alcohol intake.

I must stress the importance of preventative health. I think that with a lot of health measures we focus on dealing with the symptoms rather than dealing with how we prevent it in the first place. In a speech by the Minister for Health addressing the CEDA conference last week, it was noted that the number of overweight and obese adults has risen by 63 per cent in the latest 2011-12 figures. It is not just adult waistlines that are increasing. Sadly, one-quarter of children aged two to 17 years are overweight or obese. In 2012 there were some 2,200 youngsters diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

We as a society cannot afford to ignore these statistics, and more has to be done to prevent lifestyle related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Viktor Frankl, in his book Man's Search for Meaning, stated:

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Preventative measures not only will improve the individual's quality of life but should also reduce the strain on our health resources. In conclusion, I support the member for Hasluck's motion and thank him for bringing this important issue to the attention of the House.