The prevalence of type 2 diabetes amongst Aboriginal people is between 10 - 30 percent - around 24 times that of non-Aboriginal Australians. The onset of diabetes in Aboriginal people occurs at much younger ages and Aboriginal people experience much higher rates of diabetes related complications including renal failure, amputation and loss of vision.
By focussing on increasing awareness and understanding of diabetes in Aboriginal communities’, the prevention of type 2 diabetes is possible. Research has shown that by eating healthy, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by up to 60 percent.
Diabetes WA, supported by Bandyup Womens’ Prison, Desert Feet and True Blue, sought to address this issue and increase awareness of diabetes prevention messages amongst Aboriginal children of school age, through the development of a culturally relevant storybook. The storybook, Gary Goanna Goes Healthy, promotes the key messages - eat healthy, choose water and keep fit and the development of the storybook was done in consultation with rural and metropolitan communities.
A partnership with Bandyup Women’s Prison enabled Diabetes WA to create a culturally appropriate, entertaining, creative storybook that features a unique fusion of contemporary and Aboriginal artwork.
Diabetes WA currently has 10,000 copies of the books which will be available to Aboriginal communities state-wide and distributed to schools with an Aboriginal population, libraries, health institutions and centres to support the Diabetes WA team in their initiatives.
For more information about Gary Goanna Goes Healthy, or to obtain copies of the book, please contact the Diabetes WA Aboriginal Health Team via Aboriginalhealth@diabeteswa.com.au.