Can weight loss help manage or even reverse Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease?
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Type 2 Diabetes
A new pilot program will examine whether a personalised weight loss program and increase in physical activity can better manage type 2 diabetes for newly diagnosed participants, or potentially reverse it in some cases.
Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia and is rising at a faster rate than cancer and heart disease. More than 1 million Australians are currently living with the disease.
Medibank supported by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and Austin Health will remotely deliver Healthier Weight, Healthier Me: Type 2 Diabetes. Eligible customers will be provided with a very low-calorie diet and personalised 1:1 support with a dietitian to improve their diabetes management or potentially achieve remission from type 2 diabetes in some patients within 12 months.
Two thirds of Australians are considered to be above a healthy weight range, but it takes an average of 6 years for them to discuss weight with their healthcare professional.
Medibank Senior Executive of Member Health, Rebecca Bell said there is research to show that the likelihood and severity of type 2 diabetes is closely linked to weight, with more than half of all type 2 diabetes diagnoses related to excess weight.
“We developed Healthier Weight, Healthier Me: Type 2 Diabetes to shine a light on this growing health need and to help our customers better manage their condition,” Ms Bell said.
“We will give participants all the resources they need to set them up for success. A dietitian will work with each of the participants to develop a tailored weight loss plan and they will be supplied with up to 18-weeks of meal replacements, up to 10 video consultations with a dietitian, weight scales, measuring tapes, supermarket shopping guide and a cookbook.”
A UK study has found that very low-calorie diets paired with clinical support has been shown to lead to type 2 diabetes diagnoses being reversed at 12 months in half of participants.
Ms Bell said the remission of diabetes can have life changing benefits and we want to give participants in the pilot program every opportunity to live happier and healthier lives, free of type 2 diabetes.
“Medibank is focused on delivering preventative health programs that can continue to support Australians out of a hospital setting as well as those in remote and regional areas.
“The launch of Healthier Weight, Healthier Me: Type 2 Diabetes is in addition to Medibank’s remotely delivered preventative health focused programs like Better Knee, Better Me, Heart Health at Home, OptimalMe and Live Better.
“We know that it can be more challenging for Australians in regional and remote areas to access specialised programs, but Medibank’s preventative health programs are accessible to eligible customers no matter where they live.”
Medibank customers wanting to participate in the program will need to have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and get approval from their treating GP to participate. The program is open to customers with a resident hospital policy, who are covered for diabetes management.