Western Sydney Changing Diabetes

Confronting the diabetes scourge in western Sydney

Blacktown-based Workers Lifestyle Group has launched a unique community campaign to combat the scourge of diabetes in western Sydney. 

Workers Lifestyle Group has partnered with Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD)  and Novo Nordisk to launch the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes campaign to boost diabetes detection, awareness and prevention.

Member-owned Workers Lifestyle Group, which operates Workers Blacktown and two other community clubs, launched Western Sydney Changing Diabetes on Thursday, December 8, 2022. 

Chief Executive Morgan Stewart announced the Workers Lifestyle Group would invest $500,000 over five years to implement the program. 

Thirteen per cent of adults living in the Western Sydney Local Health District have diabetes and 38% are at high risk of developing it, said WSD Prevention Manager Janine Dawson. (The incidence of adult diabetes across NSW is about 11%.)

(l-r) Prof Glen Maberly, CEO Morgan Stewart, WSD eEngagement and Education manager Heloise Tolar, Prevention Manager Janine Dawson, and Primary Prevention officer Aruni Ratnayake.

However, Ms Dawson said, a weight loss of 2kg would prevent 30% of people developing diabetes.

WSD is co-led by Western Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney Primary Health Network, PwC, Diabetes Australia and the Department of Planning and Environment.

“People with diabetes have four times the risk of heart failure and two times the risk of a heart attack, a stroke and dementia,” Ms Dawson said.

“It is also the main cause of preventable blindness, 20% increase in cancer, while one in three people develop kidney disease and 2% will have amputations.

“The only way to change this is for the community to understand the importance of the issue, so we appreciate the club’s help in raising awareness and enabling us to interact with its members.”

Workers Blacktown is already working with WSD to provide members with regular healthy interactive displays, cooking demonstrations and will be starting a diabetes risk and detection program early next year. This could include activities such as dancing, tai chi and walking groups. 

SiSU Health-check stations have been installed at Workers Blacktown and Workers Sports clubs and healthy menu options influenced by the CSIRO are being showcased at Workers Blacktown’s Blue Gum Café.

 “This reflects Workers Lifestyle Group’s diversification from club-based activities into a lifestyle community focused on health and well-being,” Mr Stewart said. 

“We believe this campaign is unique in Australia and will be uniquely beneficial to the communities of western Sydney,” Mr Stewart said. 

“Workers Lifestyle Group will invest $500,000 over 5 years to make it happen.”

The launch was attended by Prospect MP Dr Hugh McDermott and Blacktown Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM.

See the gallery of images from the event below. c