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Diabetes big problem in outback towns

Friday, 14th May, 2010

Frith Semmens is helping co-ordinate Diabetes of the Desert. Frith Semmens is helping co-ordinate Diabetes of the Desert.

Local health workers have been learning about
diabetes in the desert.
“Diabetes in the Desert” is a two-day conference coordinated
by the Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Corporation.
Maari Ma Clinical Health Consultant-Diabetes Educator,
Frith Semmens, said the organisation held a diabetes
conference annually and had worked hard and secured
funding to bring this year’s event to Broken Hill.
Held at the Mulberryvale estate on Wednesday and
yesterday, it has attracted diabetes educators from as far
afield as Melbourne and Adelaide.
Featuring guest speeches from diabetes specialists from
Adelaide, the conference is a chance for health workers to
network and share knowledge.
Ms Semmens said Broken Hill was a ‘perfect location’
for the gathering, given an increase in obesity rates among
the Aboriginal population.
A dinner on Wednesday night had been well attended
by doctors from private practice, the Flying Doctor and
the hospital, as well as professionals from Wilcannia and
Menindee.
“These two days have been really successful, really
relevant,” she said.
Diabetes was a more pronounced issue in country areas,
Ms Semmens said, as it went hand in hand with obesity.
Country people in remote areas had less access to
nutritional foods and exercise options like activity centres
and sporting clubs.
“It makes it very difficult to eat well and to interact and
become more active,” she said.
“We’re very lucky to have these speakers. We’re learning
a lot of things.
“We’ve heard today that it’s better to eat a substantial
meal in the morning and follow it with smaller meals
throughout the day when you’re burning your energy, rather
than going to bed on a full stomach.”

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