More Australians with diabetes, but diabetes-related deaths down

Diabetes has increased significantly among the Australian population over the past 20 years, however the rate of diabetes-related deaths is falling, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The new web-based report, Diabetes indicators in Australia, shows the prevalence of diabetes in the Australian population increased from 1.5% to 4.1% over the 20 years to 2007-08.

Diabetes can lead to serious complications, such as cardiovascular disease and end-stage kidney disease as well as loss of vision, limb amputation and even death.

‘While increasing numbers of Australians are developing the disease, there is some good news in relation to diabetes complications,’ said AIHW spokesperson Lisa McGlynn.

Diabetes-related deaths dropped by 18% between 1997 and 2007 and hospitalisations for lower limb amputations among people with diabetes fell between 2001 and 2007–08, from 4.8 to 4.1 per 1,000 people with diabetes.

‘This may be a result of better diabetes management,’ Ms McGlynn said.

‘However, the increasing number of Australians with diabetes is still a cause for concern, as is the number of Australians with modifiable risk factors for diabetes.’

‘We can help manage diabetes risk by, among other things, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough exercise and eating the right amounts of fruit and vegetables.’

In 2007–08, 61% of Australian adults were overweight or obese, compared to 57% in 1995.

The rate of Australian adults who did not get enough exercise has increased from 69% to 72% between 2001 and 2007–08.

And, in 2007–08, more than 90% of Australian adults did not eat enough vegetables and 50% did not eat enough fruit.

Indigenous Australians have an increased risk of developing diabetes.

The rate of diabetes among Indigenous Australians was more than 3 times that of non-Indigenous Australians, and Indigenous Australians had higher rates of diabetes-related deaths than the general population—46 per 100,000 among Indigenous Australians in 2006 compared to 33 per 100,000 among all Australians in the same year.

Diabetes indicators in Australia is available at The AIHW has also released a new diabetes dashboard, providing easily accessible and navigable facts and figures on diabetes.

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.


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