While Type 1 diabetes among Australia's children remains a cause for concern, things do not appear to be worsening, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Incidence of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children 2000-2008, shows that while cases of Type 1 diabetes in children aged 0-14 years increased significantly between 2000 and 2004, the second half of the decade saw little change in this number.
'There were over 8,000 new cases of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children in the 2000-2008 period,' said Anne-Marie Waters of the Institute's Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Kidney Unit.
'During 2000-2004, the incidence increased at an average rate of 6% a year; however, in the 2005-2008 period there was no significant change in these figures, suggesting the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children is stable at present.'
'However, Australia still remains in the top 10 OECD countries with the highest rates of Type 1 diabetes in children.'
The report shows that in the 0-4 age group more boys develop Type 1 diabetes than girls, while there is no difference between boys and girls in older age groups.
The incidence of diabetes in the oldest age group (10-14 year-olds) was double that of 0-4 year olds.
'While the results of the report are promising, it is clear that there is still much scope for improvement, with two Australian children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each day,' Ms Waters said.
The somewhat stable situation for Type 1 diabetes is in contrast to the known increase in Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious illness, associated with many other conditions. If not properly managed, it can result in considerably reduced quality of life, many health complications, and death.
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