Your Health

Diabetes in Indigenous Communities

There is little doubt that diabetes is one of the most significant health issues facing Indigenous people, especially type 2 diabetes, which is four times more likely to affect Indigenous than non-Indigenous people.

Diabetes is largely caused by the way people live their lives, so there is a lot that people can do to stop themselves from getting it, and a lot that can be done to lessen its impact if they do get it.

A recent major national survey, called the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey [1], found:
  • Diabetes/high sugar levels were reported by around 1 in 16 Indigenous people
  • Diabetes/high sugar levels were more common among Indigenous people living in remote areas (that is, communities/small towns) (around 1 in 11) than among those living in non-remote areas (that is, big towns/cities) (around 1 in 20)
  • Diabetes/high sugar levels were more than 3 times more common among Indigenous people than among non-Indigenous people
  • The difference of diabetes/high sugar levels between Indigenous and non-Indigenous females greater than the difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous males
  • Indigenous people were more likely to get diabetes at younger ages than non-Indigenous people [1]

Management of your Diabetes

There is no way of curing diabetes, so it is important to keep it under control. 

You can improve your diabetes by:

  • losing weight
  • eating healthier, more natural foods
  • eating a few smaller meals per day rather than one or two large ones
  • doing more exercise, including looking for ways to put more activity into your day (for example, walking to the shops instead of driving)
  • taking medicines that can lessen the amount of sugar in your blood (if prescribed by doctor)
  • stopping smoking
  • drinking less alcohol
  • having good hygiene (to reduce infections) [2] 

You should also visit your health clinic often, so that:

  • your eyes can be checked
  • your feet can be checked
  • your kidneys can be checked
  • your blood pressure can be checked [2]


Make an appointment with our Clinic to assess your risks associated with Diabetes, or to monitor and control its effects.



  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Australia, 2004-05. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. Couzos S, O’Rourke S, Metcalf S, Murray R (2003) Diabetes. In: Couzos S, Murray R, eds.Aboriginal primary health care: an evidence-based approach. 2nd ed. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press: 348-410
Source; Australian Indigenous Healthinfonet;