Does New Zealand support a sugar tax?

Diabetes New Zealand doesn’t support a sugar tax across the board however we do support taxation on sugary drinks and processed foods. When we talk about sugar, we are referring to sucrose or sugar that is added to food and drink by ourselves or food companies. This includes table sugar that we add to tea, caster sugar for baking our cakes and sugar and syrups hidden in drinks This will be part of a comprehensive approach to decreasing rates of overweight and obesity, and reducing the impact of type 2 diabetes. Revenue generated should support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic conditions (including type 2 diabetes) and address childhood obesity.


What is Diabetes New Zealand’s position on funding Continuous Glucose Meters?

Diabetes New Zealand will advocate for fully funded Continuous Glucose Meters for all people with type 1 diabetes.


What is Diabetes New Zealand’s stand on medicines approved by the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee?

Diabetes New Zealand will advocate for new medicines approved by the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee to be introduced and funded.


How can we improve communications with and about people with diabetes?

Diabetes New Zealand encourages people writing about diabetes for the general public to reflect on the language they use and its power to encourage or discourage people living with diabetes. This includes communication increasing the motivation, health and well-being of people living with diabetes; furthermore, that careless or negative language can be de-motivating, is often inaccurate, and can be harmful.

Diabetes New Zealand encourages people living with diabetes make more informed choices when buying foods, and to encourage manufacturers and retailers to label products responsibly.


Does bariatric surgery help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes?

Lifestyle interventions that achieve sustained weight loss can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and should be the initial approach for all people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Several studies have shown that weight loss through bariatric surgery can reduce the progression to type 2 diabetes in obese people with prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance). Diabetes New Zealand believes bariatric surgery appropriate for people that are assessed and recommended by a medical specialist review.


About the changes proposed by PHARMAC July 2017

Which meters are proposed for funding?

The proposal is to fund four meters from the CareSens range. This would mean that only CareSens meters would be funded until at least 2022. The four funded meters would be:

  • CareSens N (currently funded)
  • CareSens N POP (currently funded)
  • CareSens N Premier (not currently funded)
  • CareSens Dual (not currently funded).

All four of the funded meters test glucose levels. CareSens N Premier has blue tooth connectivity as does CareSens Dual, which also tests both glucose and ketones levels.

Do I have to change meters?

Most people don’t have to change the meter they’re using. People using a CareSens II meter or a Freestyle Optium meter would need to change. Take a look here to see if you would need to change meters.

I use a Freestyle Optium to test for blood ketones – do I need to change?

Yes – you would be able to change to the CareSens Dual meter which tests for both blood glucose and blood ketones. You would also be able to use this meter to test for blood glucose which means you would only need to carry one meter instead of two.

If I have to change meters, when would I have to make the change by?

You can change from 1 February 2018 and there would be a 6-month transition period, through to 1 August 2018.

If I have to change meters, who would help me make the change?

If you need to change meters, your diabetes nurse, general practitioner, diabetes specialist or community pharmacist would be able to help you.

Can I change to an ‘upgraded’ meter?

You can change meters and upgrade if you meet the criteria to change to another meter – for example, if you have Type 1 diabetes, you would be able to access a CareSens Dual meter. Your health professional would know if you meet criteria to upgrade to another funded meter.

You cannot change to another funded meter just because you want to.

Do the meters accurately measure my blood glucose levels?

All the meters meet the international standard for testing: ISO standard ISO15197:2013. This standard means they are accurate to within plus or minus 15% of what a laboratory test would show. All meters were tested by New Zealand laboratories before they were considered for funding.

Can fad diets like the Paleo diet, Cohen diet, Blood type diet help control diabetes?

Some aspects of these diets may be consistent with recommendations for people with diabetes such as the Paleo diet’s recommendation to avoid processed foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt. But, these diets also promote the removal of key food groups potentially leading to nutritional deficiencies. The blood type diet, for example, recommends avoiding dairy products for most blood types which limits calcium intake. On the Cohen Diet website it specifically states the diet is not suitable for those with diabetes on insulin or other forms of diabetes medication.

There is no magic formula for weight loss from these fad diets, weight loss occurs purely as result of eating less calories. In addition these diets are difficult to maintain in the long term making it more likely you will regain weight lost while following the diet. To achieve long term, sustainable weight loss try to make changes to eating patterns and activity levels that can become part of your everyday life.