Victoria’s Diabetes Epidemic: The Staggering Statistics

Diabetes can lead to many long-term complications such as nerve damage in the feet and eyes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney damage.  Shocking new data has revealed that diabetes has more than doubled over the past 10 years in Victoria.  Figures show that the number of Victorians with diabetes has risen dramatically, from 95,000 in 2001 to a staggering 252,000 today.

The main reason for this rapid increase in diabetes sufferers is an explosion in obesity, caused by a lack of exercise and poor lifestyle habits.   Other factors which have driven this alarming result include an increased consumption of fast food compared with fresh fruit and vegetables, and a sedentary lifestyle, with people spending too much time on computers or at their desk at work.

Diabetes prevalence in 2001, 2006, and 2011

Diabetes Prevalence in Victoria, in 2001, 2006, and 2011
Figure 1. Progression of diabetes prevalence in Victoria, showing regional prevalence in years 2001, 2006, and 2011. Source: Diabetes Australia Victoria.

In Figure 1 above (source: Diabetes Australia Victoria), areas coloured in green show regions where less than 2% of the local population has been diagnosed with diabetes.  Areas coloured in yellow show regions where 2-4% of the local population has been diagnosed with diabetes.  Areas coloured in red show regions where over 4% of the local population has been diagnosed with diabetes.  There is a clear and alarming progression of diabetes prevalence over the last decade, with at least 4% of all residents across most regions of Victoria suffering from diabetes as of 2011.

Comparison of Prevalence of Diabetes Cases in Borondoora, in 2001, 2006, and 2011
Figure 2. Comparison of prevalence of diabetes in the City of Borondoora, Victoria, in 2001, 2006, and 2011.

Furthermore, the prevalence of diabetes in Boroondara has increased 90.3% over the last 10 years. Specifically, the number of people with diabetes has risen from 2,225 to 4,688, with 4.3 new cases diagnosed each week (Figure 2, adapted from Diabetes Australia Victoria).

What can I do to prevent diabetes?

The good news is that Type 2 Diabetes is preventable.  If you’re guilty of leading a sedentary lifestyle or indulging in too much fast food, lifestyle changes can be made.  Lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet and exercising regularly can reduce the risk of and prevent the onset of diabetes.  Even if you have Type 2 Diabetes, lifestyle changes can still be made to slow the progression of the disease and reduce the long term impact of it on your life.  A structured resistance and aerobic training program with dietary and lifestyle education has been shown to be the most effective way in achieving these important changes.