Endocrinologist Dr Mani Manoharan, Lions District 201N5 Zone 11 Chair Helen Roth and Primary Preventions Officer Aruni Ratnayake.
Western Sydney is a diabetes hotspot with disease rates higher than the NSW average.
The Lions clubs of District 201N5 Zone 11, which includes Blacktown Ponds, Castle Hill, Kellyville, Kings Langley and Sydney Sri Lankan, have come together to tackle the diabetes epidemic in The Hills and western Sydney.
To promote awareness and education on how to manage and prevent developing type 2 diabetes, they are running a free community forum on Saturday, June 18 in Castle Hill in conjunction with Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD).
The WSD initiative was established in response to the growing threat diabetes poses to our community’s health and wellbeing.
The event is supported by The Hills Shire Council with guest speakers including an endocrinologist, a GP, a dietitian and an exercise physiologist.
Dr Manoharan said it is estimated that 12 per cent of western Sydney residents (91,500 people) have diabetes.
“In addition, 38 per cent of the local population (290,000 people) are at ‘high risk’ of type 2 diabetes with pre-diabetes or early undiagnosed diabetes,” Dr Manoharan said.
“Unless we act, the problems will continue to worsen.”
WSD Diabetes Preventions Officer Aruni Ratnayake said western Sydney’s large proportion of residents with diabetes is due to poor lifestyle choices.
According to WSD, diabetes screening at the Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospital Emergency Departments in 2017 showed alarming rates of 17 per cent of people with diabetes and 29 per cent having pre- diabetes.
“This calls for urgent action in The Hills as the region is now a diabetes hotspot with high rates of diabetes more than double that of Sydney’s eastern and northern suburbs,” Ms Ratnayake said.
Lions District 201N5 Zone 11 Chair, Helen Roth, said the clubs are focused on bringing diabetes awareness to the community which aligns closely to the Lions Clubs International (LCI) key global cause to reduce the prevalence of diabetes and improve the lives of those with diabetes.
“Knowing the forecasted impact diabetes will have on our health system, if we can help reduce the predicted onset through highlighted information then the benefit will be multi-fold.” Ms Roth said.
“It will keep the lid on health costs for diabetes treatments and emergencies as well as supporting peace of mind for those at risk.”
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Peter Gangemi thanked the Lions clubs for putting on the free educational forum to help tackle the diabetes epidemic in western Sydney.
“It’s so important information is freely available on how to prevent and manage diabetes, as well as how to live a healthy life with this disease which can cause a number of health problems if not treated appropriately,” he said.
WSD is encouraging anyone who is at high risk to go to their GP and get tested for a free HbA1c test.
This includes adults in The Hills region who have more than one of the following risk factors:
- A family history of diabetes;
- An inactive lifestyle;
- Is overweight or obese;
- Had diabetes during a pregnancy;
- Is 45 years old or older; and
- Have a Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent, Chinese, South East Asian, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island background
Details: 9.30am registration for 10am start – 1pm, Saturday, June 18 at Rebellion Room (under the Castle Hill Library), 14 Pennant Street, Castle Hill.
To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diabetes-awareness-forum-tickets-304277410927
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