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A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) looks at people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The report, Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia 2000-2011, shows that there were 2,367 new cases of type 1 diabetes in Australia in 2011, equating to 11 new cases per 100,000 people.

'Diabetes occurs when the body is no longer able to produce enough insulin or use it properly. Type 1 diabetes develops when the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas,' said AIHW spokesperson Susana Senes.

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown but it is believed to be an interaction of genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the incidence (new cases) rate of type 1 diabetes in many countries. However, this rising trend is not evident in Australia.

'The trend in incidence of type 1 diabetes has remained fairly stable over the period 2000 to 2011, with between 10 and 12 new cases of type 1 diabetes per 100,000 people each year.'

But Australia's incidence rate of type 1 diabetes is high compared with some countries.

Among children aged 0-14, for whom there are comparable figures, Australia's incidence of 23 new cases of type 1 diabetes per 100,000 children is above the OECD average (17 per 100,000) but similar to rates in Canada and the United States.

People aged 18 or under made up half of all new cases of type 1 diabetes in Australia in 2011.

'Rates of new cases of type 1 diabetes peaked in the 10-14 age group at 32 per 100,000 people: a rate 5 times as high as for those aged 40-44,' Ms Senes said.

Incidence rates of type 1 diabetes were higher in males than in females-13 in every 100,000 males compared with 8 per 100,000 females.

'Our report shows that rates of type 1 diabetes ranged from 13 cases per 100,000 people in Western Australia to 8 cases per 100,000 people in the Northern Territory,' Ms Senes said.

The incidence of type 1 diabetes was 8 per 100,000 people in Remote and very remote areas compared with 10, 12 and 11 per 100,000 people in Major cities, Inner regional and Outer regional areas respectively.

The incidence of type 1 diabetes was lower for Indigenous Australians than for non-Indigenous Australians in 2006-2011-7 per 100,000 compared with 10 per 100,000.

The report also looks at insulin-treated type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It is usually associated with lifestyle factors, is largely preventable and mainly occurs in people aged over 50.

'About 36,263 people began using insulin to treat their type 2 diabetes in 2011,' Ms Senes said.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 29 April 2014

Further information: Ms Susana Senes, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1171 mob. 0407 915 851

Full publication: Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia 2000-2011