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Diabetes risk of underprivileged Australians

The diabetes risk of the underprivileged in Australia is twice as high compared to the more affluent, new figures have revealed.

The risk of the condition among the disadvantaged was 7.2%, compared to the wealthy at 3.5%.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics also showed people living in poorer areas of the country were at greater risk of obesity, asthma and cardiovascular disease.

Obesity is a common risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Implementing lifestyle changes which support weight loss can in many cases prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.

The Public Health Information Development Unit at Torrens University say their findings suggest that the disadvantaged are at risk of dying younger.

The study involved looking at health outcomes per location and comparing those who were considered wealthy in comparison to those were not.

The data found obesity rates in the wealthiest areas were about 24.6%, compared to 38.5% in the poorer locations.

Smoking was also higher among people living in disadvantaged areas at 24.3% compared to 8.5%. Again, asthma sufferers were also higher at 13.4% compared to 10%, and cardiovascular disease 5.5% compared to 4%.

Unit director Professor John Glover said: “These public health figures disturbingly reveal, yet again, the poorer health outcomes for people in our community who are most disadvantaged.

“Although the rates of chronic disease and health risks are estimates, they are based on the best available data and indicate the magnitude of the differences in health status that exist in Australia.”

The team also discovered disparities in health risk between those living in urban parts of the country and people from the more remote parts of Australia.

The average age of death was significantly lower in the poorer areas at just 62, however people were found to be living until 89 years in the more affluent locations. This contrast was even more stark in rural areas. In the rural APY region of Australia, the median age of death was reported to be just 48 years old.

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