4371.0 - National Health Survey: Diabetes, Australia, 1995  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/10/1997   
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October 22, 1997
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Over 430,000 diagnosed with diabetes

Over 430,000 Australians (2.4 per cent of the population) reported they had been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus at some time during their lives, according to a publication released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The publication National Health Survey: Diabetes, Australia, 1995, draws on new information from the 1995 National Health Survey and includes some data from the ABS's Causes of Death collection.

Three types of diabetes mellitus were separately identified in the publication's analysis: insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and gestational diabetes mellitus.

One in three people with diabetes mellitus did not know what type of diabetes they had. Among those who knew their diabetes type, 63 per cent reported having non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.

Risk factors for diabetes include being aged over 40 and being overweight. Diabetes mellitus prevalence increases with age from 0.1 per cent for people aged under 15 to 8.9 per cent for people aged 75 and over.

Among people aged 15 years and over who reported both their height and weight, 37 per cent of those with diabetes mellitus were overweight (compared with 25 per cent of those without diabetes) and a further 21 per cent were obese (compared with 8 per cent of those without diabetes).

The proportion of the overseas born population with diabetes mellitus (4.1 per cent) was over double that of the Australian born population (1.9 per cent). Even when the older age profile of the overseas born population was allowed for their rate was still higher.

In 1995 there were 2,708 deaths due to diabetes mellitus, making it the seventh leading cause of death in that year.

Diabetes mellitus is one of the five National Health Priority Areas. While rates of hospitalisation and deaths directly attributed to diabetes mellitus are low, diabetes mellitus is often mentioned as a contributory cause on death certificates and it has a major impact on quality of life.

The report also includes information on the health status of people with diabetes and the health actions they took.

Copies of the publication National Health Survey: Diabetes, Australia, 1995 (cat. no. 4371.0) are available from ABS book shops.