The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study (AusDiab) is the first national, Australian, longitudinal population-based study established to examine the prevalence and incidence of diabetes and its complications, as well as heart disease and kidney disease. The study began in 1999, when 11,247 adults (aged 25 years and above) were recruited from the general community. Six locations were randomly selected in each of the six states and in the Northern Territory, and within each of these 42 locations, all adults were invited to take part. 

 The key findings at baseline included:

– the prevalence of diabetes was 7.4%; 

– a further 16.3% had pre-diabetes – either impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose; 
- 60% were overweight or obese; 

– 6.6% had dyslipidaemia; 

– 2.5% had proteinuria, 6.4% had haematuria and 1.7% had renal impairment.

 

In 2004, the participants from the initial baseline study were invited to return for a repeat examination. The main findings from the second, follow-up, phase of AusDiab included the following:

– increasing time spent watching television was associated with increased mortality over 7 years; 

– increase in weight and waist circumference was more rapid in younger than older adults; 

– people who were obese were six times more likely to develop the metabolic syndrome than were those of normal weight; 

– every year, almost 1.0% of adults develop reduced kidney function or leakage of albumin into the urine. 

In 2011, the third phase of AusDiab was commenced and results are below:

 

DIABETES

› Every year, 0.7% of adults developed diabetes.

› Those who were in the high-risk category of the AUSDRISK score were 16 times more likely to develop diabetes than those in the low-risk group.

› Living in the most socially-disadvantaged areas of Australia doubled the risk of developing diabetes.

› Having diabetes almost doubled the chances of being admitted to hospital and of requiring multiple visits to a GP.

› Among those aged 60 years and over, people with diabetes were more likely to have cognitive impairment and physical disability than those without diabetes.

 

OBESITY

›  Over 12 years, the average gain in waist circumference was 5.3 cm, and was greater in women than in men. 

›  Younger people gained more weight and waist circumference compared to those who were older. 

›  Depression was nearly twice as common among those with obesity compared to those who were not obese. 

›  Among those aged 60 and over, people with obesity were approximately twice as likely to have cognitive impairment and physical disability as were those without obesity. 

BLOOD PRESSURE 

›  Every year, 3% of adults developed high blood pressure. 

›  The risk of developing high blood pressure was 1.0% per year for people aged 25–34 years and increased to 7.3% per year for people aged 65–74 years. 

›  The risk of developing high blood pressure was greater for people with pre-diabetes and diabetes, and for those who were overweight or obese. 

›  Among smokers, the risk of developing hypertension was approximately 50% greater in men compared to women. 

METABOLIC SYNDROME 

›  The incidence of the metabolic syndrome rose with age, peaking among those aged 65 and over. 

›  Having diabetes and pre-diabetes increased the risks of developing the metabolic syndrome. 

›  Among those aged 60 and over, people with the metabolic syndrome were more likely to have cognitive impairment and physical disability than were those without the metabolic syndrome. 

 

KIDNEY DISEASE

› Every year, 0.4% of adults developed chronic kidney disease as defined by a reduction in kidney function (impaired glomerular filtration rate).

› Every year, 0.7% of adults developed evidence of early kidney damage as shown by the leakage of albumin into the urine (albuminuria).

› Having high blood pressure and diabetes were key risk factors for developing kidney disease.

› Having signs of kidney disease approximately doubled the chances of being admitted to hospital and of requiring multiple visits to a GP.

› Among those aged 60 and over, people with signs of kidney disease were more likely to have cognitive impairment and physical disability than were those without normal kidney function.

 

Tanamas SK, Magliano DJ, Lynch B, Sethi P, Willenberg L, Polkinghorne KR, Chadban S, Dunstan D, Shaw JE. AusDiab 2012. The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Melbourne: Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute 2013.

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