400 per cent increase in gestational diabetes in Australia

Mon, 04 Sep 2006
According to new research the number of pregnant women who develop diabetes has quadrupled in the last five years in Australia . In response to the findings, overweight women are being urged to shed the pounds before they conceive.

Diabetes Australia raised the alarming figures. Over 18,500 new cases of gestational diabetes were diagnosed in 2005. This represents an increase from 4286 in the year 2000. The statistics further indicate an enormous future healthcare burden for Australia.

Although some of the increase in numbers can be attributed to better diagnosis in the country, and wide community awareness of the condition, the real root of the increase was strongly linked to the obesity and poor diet epidemic by one expert.

Neville Howard, of Diabetes Australia New South Wales, said that the 400 per cent increase is larger than anyone had predicted.

Mr. Howard said: "The diabetes epidemic is getting more and more evident, this is a huge increase in gestational diabetes. Up to 30 per cent of young women in NSW are obese or overweight when they conceive and that's a major part of it. When a woman is overweight the system breaks down and the insulin that is made is inadequate so diabetes comes out. Unfortunately not enough woman perceive themselves as being overweight or obese when they are thinking of having a family ."

He advised that women considering having a baby should: "Be checked for it and if possible do things about your weight before you conceive and also during the pregnancy ."
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