An inch or two from diabetes?

October 24, 2006 5:13 PM
diabetes campaign

Mark is supporting efforts to diagnose diabetes more effectively

Mark Hunter - Member of Parliament for Cheadle - today attended the Diabetes UK awareness day in Parliament, which aims to highlight waist measurement as a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes UK's Measure Up awareness campaign urges people to grab a tape measure and check their waistline as a quick and easy first step to assess their diabetes risk.

Research has shown that a large waist could mean you are up to twelve times more likely to develop diabetes. At risk waist measurements are 37 inches or more for men, except those of South Asian origin whose waists should not exceed 35 inches, and 31.5 inches or more for all women.

The campaign is also urging Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to be proactive in ensuring that all people with diabetes are diagnosed early to help prevent the life-threatening complications of the condition. The most recent National results released by the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory show a significant regional disparity across England, with some PCTs having diagnosed only around half of their diabetic population. The average of people diagnosed across the UK is only 72 per cent, leaving over a quarter of people undiagnosed. The Stockport PCT (which covers Cheadle constituency) has only managed to identify 73.7% of people with diabetes and the locality.

Said Mark, "Diabetes is an increasingly serious threat to the health of the nation. It's absolutely vital that we get to grips with diagnosing the condition."

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said, "There are 750,000 people in the UK who have diabetes but don't know it - that's equivalent to the entire population of Leeds. Many people don't realise they're at risk and shockingly can go undiagnosed for up to 12 years. The longer people are left undiagnosed, the higher their risk of heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and amputations. Our simple health check could save many people from a future of ill health."

As part of the Measure Up campaign, the charity is also launching its 'Are you at risk?' online tool, a two minute interactive test, designed to help people understand how high their diabetes risk is. Measure Up aims to make people aware of the risk factors including waist size, weight, age, family history and ethnicity and encourage those with at least two risk factors to get themselves tested. The campaign is kindly supported by an educational grant from sanofi-aventis.

Ends

For further information, please contact: Maria Lam on 020 7424 1166, Sarah Dickinson on 020 7424 1163 or Phaedra Neal on 020 7424 1115. For out of hours queries, contact the duty press officer on 07711 176028.

Notes to editor

1 Diabetes UK is the charity for people with diabetes. We fund medical research, provide information and support to people with diabetes and campaign on their behalf.

2 The sanofi-aventis Group is the world's 3rd largest pharmaceutical company, ranking number 1 in Europe. Backed by a world-class R&D organization, sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, oncology, diabetes, central nervous system, internal medicine, vaccines.

3 Diabetes UK's two minute test can be found at www.diabetes.org.uk/MeasureUp

4 There are currently over two million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK.

5 Research described above is referenced from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Youfa Wang et al - Comparison of abdominal adiposity and overall obesity in predicting risk of Type 2 diabetes among men - Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:555-63

6 The Diabetes UK Careline (0845 120 2960) offers information and support on any aspect of managing diabetes. The line is a lo-call number and opens Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (operates a translation service). Recorded information on a number of diabetes-related topics is also available on this number 24 hours a day.

7 Membership of Diabetes UK is from £22/ year with special rates available. In addition to our bi-monthly magazine Balance, members receive support and the latest information on diabetes care and treatments to help them live a healthy life.

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