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Understanding diabetes: Diabetes Week in South Australia.

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TW 32/2003 Friday 14 July, 2003


A free seminar series for health professionals and a set of diabetes fact sheets tailored specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been launched today in Adelaide to mark the start of National Diabetes Week.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Trish Worth, said the seminars and fact sheets would help raise community awareness about diabetes and its risk factors as part of National Diabetes Week.

"The seminar series and fact sheets aim to help those people most at risk of developing diabetes to understand how they can prevent and manage the condition," Ms Worth said.

"In Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander communities diabetes affects as many as 30% of the community, compared to 7% in the general population.

"Diabetes is a serious and debilitating condition that claims the lives of 2,700 people a year. It is the sixth major cause of death in Australia."

Ms Worth said the fact sheets and the seminars are two examples from a long list of community awareness activities funded by the Australian Government for National Diabetes Week.

"National Diabetes Week is an opportunity to focus attention on this significant health issue. The Federal Government is providing $800,000 to Diabetes Australia and its State and Territory offices to improve awareness of diabetes during Diabetes Week, and leading up to World Diabetes Day on 14 November," Ms Worth said.

Dawn Walker of Diabetes South Australia said that the cooperative venture between the Australian Government and Diabetes Australia is supporting creative local projects right around the country.

"There is a wide range of activities planned that have been tailored to the special needs of very different communities in different parts of Australia," she said

The fact sheets have been prepared by Diabetes Australia in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commission, the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, the Government of South Australia and the Department of Human Services South Australia.

They contain valuable information about diabetes, how to recognise it, how it might affect you and practical information on how to prevent the onset of complications through healthy lifestyle choices.

The seminar series is a free program presenting a range of information over five days on diabetes management, prevention of complications and research. For more information on the seminar series, or to obtain a copy of the fact sheets, please contact Diabetes South Australia on (08) 8234 1977.

Media contact: Mark Williams, Trish Worth's Office - 0401 147 558

Dawn Walker, Diabetes SA - 0401 339 969