Data using Australia’s leading Type 2 Diabetes Risk Indicator suggests the risk of developing the disease
has increased across all age groupings between 16 and 75 since the onset of the pandemic, and for cohorts
in every state except South Australia.
Dave chats with SiSU Health managing director Dr Noel Duncan about the data, which shows a clear lift in AUSDRISK scores1 over the course of the pandemic, was collected from more than 300 SiSU Health stations positioned in pharmacies around the nation and released at the end of National Diabetes Week draws to a close. Collected up to 9 June 2021, the data shows an average of 26.5% of SiSU users were at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in 2021, compared with 24.5% in 2019. A “High” AUSDRISK rating means an individual has a 1 in 14 chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes in the next 5 years.
SiSU Health managing director Dr Noel Duncan said: “COVID restrictions and lockdowns are having clear
consequences on the health and wellbeing of Australians. The health data portrays a concerning trend in
recent months that carries ramifications for thousands of Australians. but it is also important to recognise the
proactive steps within our control.”
During last weeks National Diabetes Week, SiSU are trying to highlight that in more than half of cases, Type 2 Diabetes is a preventable disease. By monitoring your health and heeding early warnings, you can actually take
measures to improve your health.”
While genetic disposition plays a strong role in development of type 2 diabetes, the risk is greatly increased
through insufficient physical activity, poor diet, and obesity. Smoking and high cholesterol are also risk
Dr Duncan said having access to immediate health feedback was a powerful tool not just for individuals, but
also for the community in general. “By painting a picture of population health and trends, real-time health
data enables governments and organisations to invest in information campaigns and research that will make
a real difference to community health outcomes,” Dr Duncan said.
SiSU health checks assess a range of health indicators including blood pressure, stress levels, weight and
diabetes risk. Data on smoking, diet and physical activity are also collected.
Six of the seven age groupings above 16 years of age showed a moderate increase in risk. Only the oldest
group (over 75-year-olds) remained static. Similarly, nearly every state and territory showed an increase in
the proportion at high risk.
Only South Australia experienced a decline. South Australia was also the only jurisdiction across Australia to
record a decline in High BMI prevalence during the COVID period.
Dr Duncan urged health authorities to respond to the increasing risk with targeted campaigns shaped by the
data. “If ever there was an opportunity to re-imagine and execute holistic, integrated preventive and population health strategies to enable Australians – and Australia – to successfully rebound in a post COVID
period, it is now,” Dr Duncan said.
SiSU’s diabetes data is taken from a larger pool of de-identified data gathered via its health stations that is
the largest volume of longitudinal, machine-measured, self-reported health data in Australia. The volume of
data collected from the SiSU machines is 30 times larger than Australia’s National Health Survey for the
same collection period.
SiSU Health Stations are deployed across Australia in retail locations such as Priceline Pharmacies and in
workplaces such as Commonwealth Bank. The company has also deployed its Health Stations in the UK,
Ireland and Germany.