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While Type 1 diabetes among Australia's children remains a cause for concern, things do not appear to be worsening, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Incidence of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children 2000-2008, shows that while cases of Type 1 diabetes in children aged 0-14 years increased significantly between 2000 and 2004, the second half of the decade saw little change in this number.

'There were over 8,000 new cases of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children in the 2000-2008 period,' said Anne-Marie Waters of the Institute's Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Kidney Unit.

'During 2000-2004, the incidence increased at an average rate of 6% a year; however, in the 2005-2008 period there was no significant change in these figures, suggesting the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children is stable at present.'

'However, Australia still remains in the top 10 OECD countries with the highest rates of Type 1 diabetes in children.'

The report shows that in the 0-4 age group more boys develop Type 1 diabetes than girls, while there is no difference between boys and girls in older age groups.

The incidence of diabetes in the oldest age group (10-14 year-olds) was double that of 0-4 year olds.

'While the results of the report are promising, it is clear that there is still much scope for improvement, with two Australian children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each day,' Ms Waters said.

The somewhat stable situation for Type 1 diabetes is in contrast to the known increase in Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious illness, associated with many other conditions. If not properly managed, it can result in considerably reduced quality of life, many health complications, and death.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Further information: Ms Anne-Marie Waters, AIHW, mob. 0418 271 395

Associate Professor Maria Craig, University of New South Wales, tel. 0417 233 064
Associate Professor Jeff Flack, University of New South Wales, tel. 02 97228350

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1230.

Incidence of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children 2000-2008