SEVEN years ago, Deb Darr had a moment of clarity changing a dressing on her mother's leg.
"It was one of the worst things I've had to do," she said. "Mum was very ill, she had diabetes and her legs were ulcerated."
Deb, a mum of two, said she was a "very big person" at 116kg, and shuddered to think of her children being in her position.
"The next day I went into the doctor and asked for a diabetes test," she said. Deb tested positive for type 2 diabetes and was told to lose weight. At 90kg, the 52 year old no longer has diabetes and has cut her blood pressure and cholesterol.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kevin Hegarty said over the past 16 years, chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiac, renal, cancer and asthma were led by doubling obesity rates in Queensland - 57.7% are overweight or obese.
"Unless lifestyle changes occur supported by early intervention, this trend will continue, leading to a potential 116% increase in hospital admissions on the Sunshine Coast," he said.
Mr Hegarty said increases in chronic diseases coupled with the Coast's growing and aging population would put pressure on health services.
"The proportion of people over 65 is expected to increase from 17% in 2011 to 23% in 2031, with the proportion of people over 85 increasing from 2.2% to 3.9% in the same period."
Queensland's population will increase by one-third to 6.1 million people between 2011 and 2026
1.1 million of these people will be aged over 65 - an 83% increase on 2011
15% of Queensland's population account for about 60% of healthcare costs
The major causes of death of 65-74 year olds in Queensland are cancers of the digestive system, colorectal cancer, coronary heart disease, and cancers of the respiratory system such as lung cancer
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