Community can provide answers for diabetes

The current annual cost to the economy of type 2 diabetes is $6 billion, and projections 1 that the number of people over 25 with diabetes could rise to nearly three million by 2025 paint a grim picture of the serious system pressures ahead of us.

Any attempt to tackle this chronic disease behemoth must be comprehensive, measured and rigorous. And I would argue that building research capacity in diabetes is one area that holds particular promise if we are going to be strategic about the challenges we face.

Research can help us answer important questions about prevention and cure, but it can also help us understand lifestyle and health behaviours, what motivates people, and how they might respond to public health interventions.

It should be fundamental to our decisions on how to proceed; it should underpin policy making; and it must give us relevant, timely answers to the right questions so it is not seen as an ivory tower, academic exercise.