Latest research from Griffith University has reportedly uncovered that less than 7% of Australians with type 2 diabetes are consistently able to improve their diet quality in the year of their diagnosis.
This indicates that those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are not receiving adequate support to optimise their lifestyle during that first year post-diagnosis.
“Improving diet quality – such as eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains and reducing ultra-processed foods – is key to managing type 2 diabetes,” says Associate Professor Lauren Ball, researcher and Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian.
“These dietary changes can help improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications such as blindness, amputations and kidney disease.
“These findings highlight that we need better models of care to support our population.”
Experts say that while a Medicare Chronic Disease Management Plan allows Australians to access five subsidised appointments split across 14 health professionals each calendar year, this is not enough to achieve change.
“It’s likely that a person newly diagnosed with diabetes would benefit from seeing a number of health professionals such as a diabetes educator, exercise physiologist and podiatrist,” says Associate Professor Ball.
“These means they may only have one or two subsidised appointments with a dietitian.
“When you consider the number of times we eat in just one day, receiving a mere hour each year of nutrition support from a dietitian is not enough.”
National Diabetes Week
This week (11-17 July) is also National Diabetes Week, which also highlights the mental health burden experienced by people with type 2 diabetes.
According to Associate Professor Ball, to help reduce the mental load of diabetes, increasing support and optimising the delivery of care is vital.
“Along with one-on-one support, better utilising group sessions, social media and optimising food intake for mental health are all areas worthy of further research to develop programs that are realistic and feasible in our current environment.”