Townsville doctors fight obesity crisis

There were 158 people diagnosed every day with type 2 diabetes in the last financial year in Australia, writes ELISABETH SILVESTER in the Townsville Bulletin.Townsville Kick The Kilos Duo


Although it is unknown what causes type 2 diabetes, it has been discovered to relate to high risk lifestyle factors including a poor diet and lack of exercise.


Scottish boys Dr Kenny Clarke and Dr Jonny Fenton have dedicated their lives to managing and treating people with diabetes.


Meeting at Glasgow University in Scotland in 2002, the duo have settled in Townsville working alongside each other at The Diabetic GP Clinic in Hyde Park.


Dr Clarke says Townsville has an obesity crisis on its hands that is putting a significant strain on the local health system.


"The stats for Townsville are one in 24 are diabetic but the more realistic stats is it is more like one in 10 because they haven't been diagnosed yet.


"At the moment, every third bed in Townsville hospital is filled with a diabetic," he said.

The disease can be managed with a combination of regular physical activity and healthy eating for weight loss.


Dr Clarke says it is important for people to abide by a liveable diet to prolong life and prevent diabetes.


"I worry about fad diets because if you do a restrictive diet that you are not used to, you are going to fail.


"We don't want quick results because it will result in a rebound," he said.


"A healthy diet is 2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables a day."


Dr Clarke cannot stress enough how critical it is to treat type 2 diabetes early and aggressively and for everyone to find a tape measure to check their waistline.

"The highest risk factors is 94cm for men and above 88cm for women."


Dr Fenton said to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes starts on an individual level and identifying high risk habits and adopting new healthy practices.


"Whenever anyone has type 2 diabetes, lifestyle factors are a big part of reversing that trend and improving their health."


"Focusing on diet and exercise is one of the main things and we recommend the 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week and two-three days of intensive activity," he said.


Dr Fenton also explains the advantages of specialised exercise plans that target the management of type 2 diabetics.


"Resistance-type exercises is known to improve insulin sensitivity and increase tissue sensitivity and people who stick to it, we see great improvements."


Dr Fenton also advises to adopt a Mediterranean diet that is low in saturated fats, low in refined sugar and has a broad base of fruit and vegetables and high-density liver proteins.

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