Regional Queensland children are more likely to be overweight or
obese and at risk of developing type 2 diabetes than their Brisbane
Queensland Health statistics show almost every regional
Queensland city has a higher rate of overweight or obese children
than the capital.
Only the Sunshine Coast and Cairns have lower rates of children
who are overweight or obese than Brisbane's north.
In north Brisbane, 21.5 per cent of children are overweight or
obese, compared to 23.3 per cent on the Gold Coast, 26.2 per cent
in Wide Bay, 27.2 per cent in Central Queensland, 27.3 per cent on
the Darling Downs, 27.6 per cent in Mackay, 28 per cent in Ipswich
and 30.7 per cent in Townsville.
Experts say mandatory testing for type 2 diabetes in regional
emergency rooms could save lives and millions of dollars, while
forming healthy exercise habits through regional sport can help
This obesity data comes days after Queensland regional media
revealed that regional children are quitting school far earlier
than their city counterparts. In Brisbane, 81 per cent of children
get to the end of Year 12, but the figure is barely 50 per cent in
some rural areas.
Queensland regional media
have launched Fair Go For Our Kids, a campaign aimed at
lifting education resourcing in the regions and addressing
associated youth problems.
Diabetes Australia statistics show 81 per cent of Queenslanders
with type 2 diabetes registered with the National Diabetes Services
Scheme live outside Brisbane.
That's 166,465 people.
Health groups have warned being overweight or obese from a young
age significantly increases the risk of long-term chronic
Diabetes Queensland has called on both major parties to commit
to introduce type 2 diabetes screening at hospital emergency
A western Sydney trial of mandatory diabetes testing found 47
per cent of all ED patients had either diabetes or
Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said there were 100,000
Queenslanders who had type 2 diabetes and did not know it.
"We need to find these people; if we don't then every year that
goes by their symptoms are getting worse," she said.
"If people are getting blood work done at an emergency room,
then we should be doing this test as well."
A/Professor Trute said regional hospitals had the opportunity to
be ahead of the curve if this was rolled out.
"People will say that this will end up with more people needing
treatment and imposing more cost and effort on our health system.
But that's a cop out. These people already have type 2 diabetes,"
"If we can pick it up earlier than we are at the moment, then we
will reduce the treatment they need later and avoid the high cost
to the health system."
A/Professor Trute said a person who was overweight or obese as a
child was more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as an adult.
"We need to encourage kids to stay away from soft drinks and
unhealthy food and to get out there and play sport," she said.
"Good habits that our kids learn at an early age prepare them
for the world ahead.
"As adults we know a popular form of stress relief is exercise.
If our kids aren't forming exercise habits, not only will they have
challenges with overall physical health, they may also have issues
with dealing with the stresses of life, too."