Diabetes and climate change: two linked catastrophes

Rates of diabetes and climate change have been linked in a letter published on 3 February 2014 in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.

“Both diabetes and climate change threaten the wellbeing of millions of people worldwide. However they are both signs of the same crisis. Our lifestyles and the economic forces behind them are driven by fossil fuels. We perform less physical activity, while fossil fuels are consumed to support our lifestyles. Rising rates of obesity, diabetes and greenhouse gas emissions are inevitable results,” said Dr Rosalie Schultz, Northern Territory (NT) Branch President of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA).

“To avert the looming catastrophes of diabetes and climate change, governments, corporations and the health professions must respond. We need to ensure that strategies address both issues together. For example we should promote strategies that increase local food production to improve people’s diets while enabling them to exercise as they grow the food. We must design cities and transport systems that promote sociability and physical activity, while enabling people to access the natural environment.

“There is now a great opportunity for the new Australian Government to initiate its direct action strategy on climate change in ways that promote local food production, active transport and access to the natural environment. Programs to improve Australians’ health and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions can work most efficiently when they share objectives and strategies. Rather than establish separate agencies and policies, a unified plan to work for a better future –for people and the planet –is critical,” said Dr Schultz.

For further information/comment:

Dr Rosalie Schultz, NT Branch President, Public Health Association of Australia: 0429 358 095

Join over 77,000 nurses and midwives in NSW by becoming a valued member today.

You’ll automatically become a member of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation