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Preventing type 2 diabetes: scaling up to create a prevention system

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Every day an estimated 280 Australians develop type 2 diabetes.1 By 2023, type 2 diabetes is predicted to become the number one specific cause of burden of disease in Australia.2 Policies and programs to support the prevention of type 2 diabetes need to be scaled up urgently if Australia hopes to limit or reduce the enormous negative impact this serious and complex condition has on individuals, families, employers, businesses and governments. An estimated 1.5 million Australians have type 2 diabetes, and this is predicted to increase to 3.3 million by 2031.3 Prediabetes, which includes impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose, is estimated to affect 2 million Australians, putting them at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.4

Type 2 diabetes is a serious and progressive condition. If not identified and well managed it can lead to many complications, including macrovascular complications (heart attacks, strokes, amputations); microvascular complications (eye, kidney and nerve damage); and mental health problems (depression, anxiety and distress). Importantly, the macrovascular complications may begin early in the prediabetes stage. In Australia, diabetes accounts for one-third of all preventable hospital admissions coupled with longer than average stays. The economic cost is increasing dramatically and…