14 November 2002
People with type 2 diabetes were significantly more likely to be either overweight or obese than the general population according to new Australian statistics released today.
The statistics, from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, show that the association between type 2 diabetes and obesity is so strong that for most diabetes sufferers they go together like a horse and carriage, according to the Institute.
The Diabetes: Australian Facts 2002 report showed that among men aged 25 or over, 89 per cent of those with type 2 diabetes were overweight (BMI of 26-30) or obese (BMI of 31 or over). The percentage of men overweight or obese in the general population over 25 was 67 per cent.
Just looking at obesity and not including those men that were overweight, 62 per cent of men with type 2 diabetes were obese compared with 19 per cent of the general population.
For women, the figures tell a similar story. Among women aged 25 or over, 64 per cent of type 2 diabetes sufferers were overweight or obese, compared with 51 per cent of all women in this age range. Looking at obesity only, of women with type 2 diabetes, 62 per cent were obese compared with 19 per cent in the general population.
Concern over the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australia has been added to by recently released data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which showed continuing increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity at all ages.
Alarmingly, the number of adults with diabetes in Australia has trebled in the last 20 years, with the number of diabetes sufferers approaching one million.
Head of the report’s author team Dr Stan Bennett says that the diabetes epidemic is mostly the result of the rise in type 2 diabetes, which is potentially preventable.
‘It’s potentially preventable because many of the major risk factors for type 2 diabetes are related to lifestyle and can be modified — risk factors such as obesity, lack of physical activity and poor diet. They are all in themselves interrelated, and are risk factors for other diseases too, such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
‘We’re not saying that if you’re overweight you will have diabetes. What we are saying is that you greatly increase your chances of getting diabetes if you are overweight or obese, and you can lessen these chances if you manage your body weight through a combination of diet and physical activity.
‘Diabetes is not a trivial condition. People with diabetes need to manage it well so that potentially serious complications can be reduced. But people with the disease have a higher chance of complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, limb amputation, destructive gum disease and impotence.’
Last Reviewed: 19 November 2002