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The Diabetes Epidemic in Australia: A Call for Urgent National Intervention

Australia is facing a significant health crisis: the epidemic of diabetes. This chronic condition is sweeping across the nation, affecting millions of lives, and placing an enormous strain on our healthcare system. Despite the urgency of this public health challenge, Australia lacks a cohesive national program to effectively manage and mitigate the impact of diabetes. Diabetes Australia recently released a comprehensive report called The State of the Nation 2024 ahead of National Diabetes Week 14th – 21st July. It’s worth taking the time to read.

The Scope of the Diabetes Crisis

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body cannot properly process glucose, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. There are two primary types: Type 1, which is an autoimmune condition, and Type 2, which is largely lifestyle related. Type 2 diabetes accounts for the vast majority of cases in Australia, driven by factors such as poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and obesity. Subsets include gestational diabetes, which can develop during pregnancy, and a small percentage of less common types of diabetes that include maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY), latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), and type 3c diabetes (which occurs when another disease, such as pancreatitis damages the pancreas), people who have had their pancreas removed surgically, or cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

Alarmingly, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the past 20 years. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports that diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic condition in Australia, a trend that shows no sign of abating. Even more concerning is the fact that it’s appearing at much younger ages within the community. In the last ten years alone, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes between the ages of 21 – 39 has increased by 44%, while diagnoses before the age of 20 have risen by 17%

According to Diabetes Australia, as of March 2024, there were 1,468,142 people with diagnosed diabetes registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS ). The Australian Diabetes Educators Association ( ADEA ) estimates that currently one in SIX Australians over the age of 25 have pre-diabetes which means that there are more than TWO MILLION Australians who are highly likely to be PRE_DIABETIC, and have no idea what lies ahead for them.

Diabetes Australia estimates that if current trends continue, unchecked, by 2050 there could be between 3.5 to 4 million people with both diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes.

The Human and Economic Toll

The impact of diabetes on individuals and families is profound. Diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure leading to regular dialysis, blindness, and lower limb amputations. These complications significantly reduce the quality of life for those affected and the emotional and psychological burden on patients and their families is also considerable.

Economically, diabetes imposes a staggering cost on the Australian healthcare system. Direct healthcare costs, including hospital admissions, medications, and management of complications, are estimated to be around $17.6 billion annually. Indirect costs, such as lost productivity and absenteeism, further amplify the economic burden. This financial strain underscores the urgent need for a coordinated national response to mitigate the growing impact of diabetes.

The Need for a National Program

Our Government offers FREE Mammograms to detect early breast cancer, PSA blood tests to detect early prostate cancer for men, and FREE occult blood testing to detect early bowel/colon cancer.

  • Deaths of Australians, last 12 months from breast cancer  approximately               3,200
  • Deaths of Australians, last 12 months from prostate cancer approximately             3,500
  • Total of Breast Cancer  and Prostate Cancer deaths  approximately                       6,700
  • Deaths from Diabetes and Complications, last 12 months approximately       21,900

Diabetes and complications deaths are THREE TIMES MORE than the combined Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer death numbers!! Despite the scale and severity of the diabetes epidemic, Australia does not have a comprehensive national program to address it. Current efforts are fragmented and inconsistent, varying significantly between states and territories. This lack of cohesion results in gaps in prevention, early detection, management, and support services for those affected by diabetes.

Prevention The Name of the Game

The State of the Nation 2024 report by Diabetes Australia outlines key components of what it believes is required for a unified national program, BUT we believe over and above the suggested national Diabetes Kidney Disease screening program, a generalised Early Detection and Screening test should also be implemented to identify individuals at risk of diabetes and those with undiagnosed diabetes.

Early detection is crucial for preventing complications and managing the condition effectively. A FREE simple blood sugar finger prick test for all people 25 and over would be a great start to stopping the landslide that is happening.

Diabetes Australia in their 'State of the Nation 2024' document, reported that “large scale, randomised controlled trials of people living with pre-diabetes or at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes have shown that the condition can be prevented or delayed in up to 58% of people through behavioural change programs supporting weight loss, increasing physical activity and enabling healthier eating patterns”   

Given that Type 2 diabetes prevention is one of the most cost-effective interventions in managing this chronic disease, it makes sense for there to be a strong National focus on early diagnosis and programs such as Diabetes Australia is recommending.

The MediKane team believe our cornerstone product, NutriKane™ D should be part of that program. It has been scientifically proven to assist with the management of elevated blood glucose, assist in weight loss, lower the GI content of food and promote short chain fatty acid production.

Over the past 12 years anecdotal reports from our wide range of clients has supported clinical trial evidence that NutriKane ™ D is an absolute game changer for assisting in positively impacting the challenge of managing diabetes, naturally, from a food-as-medicine perspective.

If you would like further information about this innovative and unique product, our ‘Rationale, Science, Trials and Research behind NutriKane’ document can be found here.


The diabetes epidemic in Australia is a critical public health issue that demands immediate and sustained intervention. A comprehensive national diabetes program, focused on prevention, early detection, access to care, research, and policy, is essential to combat this growing crisis. By taking decisive action now, we can turn the tide on the diabetes epidemic and ensure a healthier future for all Australians.