Karen McSweeney diabetes educator at the Gympie hospital.
Karen McSweeney diabetes educator at the Gympie hospital. Renee Pilcher

Are you at type 2 diabetes risk?

RATES of type 2 diabetes in south-east Queensland have increased by up to 50% in the past four years, with nearly 5% of Gympie region residents now living with the condition.

New Diabetes Queensland maps show type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in regions with lower income, higher obesity and an aging population.

Gympie community health diabetes educator Karen McSweeney said yesterday carrying excess weight around your waist increased the risk of developing "lifestyle related chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease".

"A waist measurement of over 80cm for women and 94cm for men puts you at risk. Healthy eating and getting active can help you lose centimetres from your waistline and prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes," she said.

Diabetes Queensland says more needed to be done to stem the type 2 diabetes' epidemic, with 5% of the Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Moreton Bay and Scenic Rim populations also living with the condition.

The diabetes epidemic maps show all types of diabetes increased in Queensland at twice the national rate, with a 37% increase in Queensland between 2007 and 2011, compared to a national 22% increase. Type 2 diabetes rates are up by 43% in Queensland compared to 28% nationally.

Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said this increase was doubly worrying because diabetes was known to be a precursor to an extensive range of other health conditions including heart, kidney and eye diseases, circulation problems and some cancers.

"We know that increasing obesity is increasing rates of type 2 diabetes. With more than 60% of Queensland adults now overweight or obese, this is the main driver of the epidemic," Ms Trute said.

The crosslink between age, income and type 2 diabetes also emerges in the retirement destination of Fraser Coast, just north of Gympie, where almost half the population is aged over 45 and incomes are low.

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