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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- 4. McDermott RA, McCulloch BG, Campbell SK, Young DM. Diabetes in the Torres Strait Islands of Australia: better clinical systems but significant increase in weight and other risk conditions among adults, 1999–2005. Med J Aust 2007; 186: 505-508.
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- 9. Rowley KG, Gault A, McDermott R, et al. Reduced prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance and no change in prevalence of diabetes despite increasing BMI among Aboriginal people from a group of remote homeland communities. Diabetes Care 2000; 23: 898-904.
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- 11. Rowley KG, Su Q, Cincotta M, et al. Improvements in circulating cholesterol, antioxidants, and homocysteine after dietary intervention in an Australian Aboriginal community. Am J Clin Nutr 2001; 74: 442-448.
- 12. Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell’Infarto miocardico. Dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E after myocardial infarction: results of the GISSI-Prevenzione trial. Lancet 1999; 354: 447-455.
- 13. Couzos S. PBS medications: improving access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aust Fam Physician 2005; 34: 841-844.
- 14. Kelaher M, Dunt D, Taylor-Thomson D, et al. Improving access to medicines among clients of remote area Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services. Aust N Z J Public Health 2006; 30: 177-183.
- 15. Hoy WE, Baker PR, Kelly AM, Wang Z. Reducing premature death and renal failure in Australian Aboriginals. A community-based cardiovascular and renal protective program. Med J Aust 2000; 172: 473-478.
- 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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