Diabetes in Indigenous Australians: possible ways forward

Kerin O'Dea, Kevin G Rowley and Alex Brown
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (10): 494-495.

Reducing the burden of diabetes will require action well beyond the health service sphere

Type 2 diabetes represents a serious public health problem for Indigenous Australians, occurring at a much higher prevalence than in the non-Indigenous population, and with a much earlier age of onset of the disease and its micro- and macrovascular complications.1,2 It is likely that diabetes is an important contributor to the considerably higher circulatory disease mortality rate among Indigenous Australians at young ages (9–10 times higher in Indigenous men aged 25–44 years, and 12–13 times higher in Indigenous women aged 35–54 years).1 Thus, diabetes imposes significant financial and human costs on Australian society, which are disproportionately borne by Indigenous individuals, families and communities.

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  • Kerin O'Dea1,2
  • Kevin G Rowley3
  • Alex Brown4

  • 1 University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Baker Heart Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 4 Baker Heart Research Institute, Centre for Indigenous Vascular Research, Alice Springs, NT.


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  • 16. Marley JV, Davis S, Coleman K, et al. Point-of-care testing of capillary glucose in the exclusion and diagnosis of diabetes in remote Australia. Med J Aust 2007; 186: 500-503.


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