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The obesity-driven rising costs of type 2 diabetes in Australia: projections from the Fremantle Diabetes Study

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Abstract Background:

The cost of diabetes is high for both the individual and society. Future health-care planning requires patient-level diabetes-attributable health-care cost data that have not previously been available for Australia. Aim:

To determine Australian national direct diabetes-attributable health-care costs for known type 2 diabetes in 2000 and project these to 2051. Methods:

A total of 1294 patients with type 2 diabetes was recruited to the Fremantle Diabetes Study between 1993 and 1996. A bottom-up, prevalence-based approach using diabetes-attributable costs provided average annual per patient health-care costs (in year 2000 A$). Costs were extrapolated to 2051 using Australian type 2 diabetes prevalence figures and Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections, assuming that prevalence rates (i) remain at current levels and (ii) rise steadily. Results:

Total annual direct diabetes-attributable health-care costs in 2000 in Australia for people ≥25 years with known type 2 diabetes were estimated at A$636 million. As a result of ageing, the number of people with type 2 diabetes will double between 2000 and 2051 with a 2.5-fold increase in diabetes-attributable health-care costs. If obesity and inactivity prevalence rates continue to rise, prevalence rates of type 2 diabetes will further increase. The number of people with type 2 diabetes in 2051 may be 3.5 times higher than in 2000 with a 3.7-fold cost increase. Conclusions:

The financial burden of treating type 2 diabetes could quadruple by 2051 unless more is done to prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications. A smaller proportion of the population will have the capacity to fund these rising health-care costs.
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Keywords: cross-sectional studies; diabetes mellitus type 2; forecasting; health-care costs; prevalence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Population Health, Perth, Western Australia, Australia 2: University of Western Australia, School of Medicine and Pharmacology

Publication date: 01 March 2006

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