Diabetes rates in Australia are increasing with Australians from an Indian sub-continent background having a higher risk of developing both Type 2 and gestational diabetes.
Dr Rajini Jayaballa, staff specialist endocrinologist at Western Sydney Diabetes, Blacktown and Mt Druitt hospitals, said particular ethnic backgrounds are at higher risk than others.
“Our hospital and community detection has revealed that nearly half the population here in Western Sydney have diabetes or pre-diabetes,” Dr Jayaballa said.
But the good news is that preventing or delaying Type 2 diabetes can be done through simple – and enjoyable – steps.
The India Club, based in Western Sydney, hosted a free webinar today in collaboration with Western Sydney Diabetes to encourage members of the ethnic community to start the conversation about diabetes.
To watch the webinar (download first) click here.
India Club President Shubha Kumar said she was shocked to learn the high prevalence of diabetes in ethnic women of child-bearing age and wanted to do something to “shake up” the community.
“This sounded like a good community project to get on board with and raise awareness,” Ms Kumar said
“Ideally, we want to start a movement so people can get involved and talk about it, as well as spread the word to make people more aware.
“The community really needs waking up when it comes to diabetes.”
As a guest speaker, Dr Jayaballa discussed the need for early detection of diabetes and the importance of people working with their General Practitioner to know their HbA1c score.
“It is important to get the message out there for people to see their doctors to get screened for diabetes, and to manage diabetes well, early, so as to minimise or prevent the diabetes-related complications,” she said.
Professor Vicki Flood, from Western Sydney Local Health District and University of Sydney, has been working in nutrition and health research for more than 25 years, and likes to think about how the research translates into practice.
Prof Flood presented two healthy food demonstrations and lead a discussion on the nutritional benefits of vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains. (See the recipes below).
“I love the opportunity to share research findings, and this is a great way to bring it to life, by cooking and discussing food together,” Prof Flood said.
The ‘home cook’ showed from her own kitchen that it is not hard to include more vegetables on our dinner plate and try a new recipe with grains other than rice.
“While there is a bit of planning, the ingredients are readily available from any supermarket or local food market,” she said.
Aruni Ratnayake, diabetes prevention officer with Western Sydney Diabetes, said the best approach to lowering the high diabetes rates in the Indian population is to engage the community to have a discussion to understand the condition and how to prevent or delay it.
“The warm partnership the India Club has with the community will assist in raising awareness of diabetes and why action needs to be taken to prevent it,” Ms Ratnayake said.
“We shared Vicki’s recipes and ask participants to try one. They got the opportunity to write down three changes they would like to do and share their plan with a friend.”
WSLHD invests approximately $1.5 million annually for the Western Sydney Diabetes initiative.
The event was supported by the Community Migrant Resource Centre, Domestic Violence Prevention Network, indian Women empower (iWE), Nalika Padmasena Solicitor, and Women in Business.
For more information please contact Shubha Kumar on 0402 257 588 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Aruni Ratnayake, diabetes prevention officer, Western Sydney Diabetes, 0428 681 983.