Western Sydney Diabetes Turns 10

A decade of progress and call to action

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD), a pioneering initiative that has made significant strides in combating diabetes in the region.

Ten years ago, the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Board Chair, Chief Executive, and the CEO of WentWest (Western Sydney Primary Health Network) identified Western Sydney as a diabetes hotspot.

They launched the ‘Beating Diabetes Together’ initiative, appointing Professor Glen Maberly from the School of Public Health at Sydney University as Director.

Their mission was clear: to keep people healthy and slow the progression from high risk (pre-diabetes) to diabetes.

MC’d by Dr Norman Swan and Dr Jim Taggart, the team will be celebrating the milestone with an event at Workers Blacktown on July 24 with invited guests and partners to reflect on WSD’s past, present and future. 

(l-r) Former WSD Community Diabetes Nurse Educators Theresa Kang and Sharon McClelland, and current WSD CDE Sian Bramwell.

Over the past decade, WSD has worked tirelessly to support those at risk and those already living with diabetes. The goal has always been to prevent the condition from worsening for those who visit their GP.

With the help of over 140 partner organisations, including the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes Partners, we have made great strides in this mission.

Diabetes remains a significant challenge in Western Sydney.

Six out of ten adults are overweight, one in three has pre-diabetic, and one in ten lives with diabetes. These numbers are even higher among Aboriginal, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.

Diabetes is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, leg ulcers, amputations, and blindness. It also doubles the risk of dementia, cancer, and mental illness. The economic impact is staggering, with type 2 diabetes costing our part of Western Sydney $1.8 billion annually, and individuals with diabetes staying in hospitals twice as long as those without.

To combat these issues, WSD has launched the 2kg Challenge. This initiative encourages residents of Western Sydney to lose just 2kg and keep it off, which can prevent one in three people with prediabetes from developing diabetes.

See our special 10th anniversary feature in the Blacktown News.

Additionally, losing 10% of body weight within six years of being diagnosed with diabetes offers an 80% chance of putting the condition into remission. For those managing diabetes, maintaining HbA1c levels below 7% can significantly reduce the risk of complications.

We invite all residents to join the 2kg Challenge and visit their GP for a government-funded annual HbA1c test.

By signing up on our website, participants can receive various goodies and listen to the inspiring song created by Professor Glen Maberly for this occasion. 

The song, which underscores our collective effort to fight diabetes, is available here on our website and the 2kg Challenge site where you can sign up now and access healthy living tips.

Diabetes is a shared challenge, and it requires a collective effort. Join us in spreading the word and taking action. Together, we can make a difference and create a healthier future for everyone in western Sydney.

Let’s celebrate our achievements and continue our journey towards a diabetes-free Western Sydney.

Enjoy some photos from WSD events over the last 10 years.