18 March 2021
In this issue:
Cost of Type 2 Diabetes report launched at Parliament
New Zealand is facing a staggering increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes, and astronomical costs associated with this disease, a new report shows.
One of Healthier Lives strategic goals is to reignite awareness of the scale of the type 2 epidemic and the inequities embedded in it. We aim to support a national response, similar to New Zealand’s response to Covid-19, which has shown that a co-ordinated, government and science led approach can ‘flatten the curve’ of major health problems.
That’s why we collaborated with others to commission PwC New Zealand to produce The Economic and Social Cost of Type 2 Diabetes report, which was launched at Parliament by Associate Minister of Health Hon Peeni Henare earlier this week. It took almost a year to conduct the detailed modelling analyses in the report, with input from health experts. It shows the scale of the problem we will face in 20 years’ time if we don’t take action now.
There is some good news. PHARMAC recently funded new medications that are effective is managing type 2 diabetes. But much more still needs to be done. Across the country we need to improve podiatry services to avoid 600 amputations each year, offer intensive, culturally-appropriate lifestyle support services to prevent prediabetes progressing, and clinical nutrition therapy to reverse type 2 diabetes. And we need to create much healthier food and physical activity environments to protect the next generation of New Zealanders.
The report shows that the scale of this problem is too big to leave it to individual DHBs and PHOs. Healthier Lives is calling for action, starting with a national strategy for tackling type 2 diabetes.
Funding announcement: Lifecourse impact of chronic health conditions
The lifelong impact of chronic diseases on New Zealand families is at the centre of a new research programme funded by the three health and wellbeing National Science Challenges – A Better Start, Healthier Lives and Ageing Well.
The project, led by Dr Barry Milne (University of Auckland), will receive funding of $1.5 million over two years to help understand the wider benefits of chronic disease prevention, and determine what makes some New Zealand communities thrive despite living with chronic disease.
In the news:
A nutritional approach to type 2 diabetes
Despite levels of diabetes and obesity reaching epidemic proportions in New Zealand, there is no national plan to manage and prevent these diseases.
Dietary change has been proven to reduce the risk of developing diabetes at the population level, and nutrition therapy has been used to successfully treat those with prediabetes and diabetes. Director Prof Jim Mann outlines the promising advances in nutritional therapy for type 2 diabetes in a recent Newsroom article.
Māori still more likely to develop and die from cancer
Te Aho o Te Kahu (the Cancer Control Agency) has published their first report which underscores the inequitable outcomes experienced by Māori people with cancer. Māori are 20% more likely to develop cancer, and twice as likely as non-Māori to die from it.
Healthier Lives principal investigators Dr Nina Scott (Waikato DHB) and Dr Chris Jackson (Southern DHB) comment on findings from the report in this Radio NZ article.
Covid-19 hospitalisations reflect health inequities
Principal investigator A/Prof Matire Harwood (University of Auckland) comments on recent findings that show Pacific People and Māori were more likely to need hospitalisation for Covid-19 than any other ethnic group in New Zealand.
Profile: Dr Nina Scott
Dr Nina Scott (Waikato DHB) featured in this Stuff article following her win at the 2020 Kudos Awards. Nina was awarded the Waikato DHB Medical Science Award and was also nominated for the University of Waikato’s Vision Mātauranga Science Award.