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Productivity Benefits of Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in Australia: A 10-Year Analysis

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posted on 08.01.2021, 23:49 by Kirthi Menon, Barbora de Courten, Danny Liew, Zanfina Ademi, Alice J Owen, Dianna J Magliano, Ella Zomer
Objective: Diabetes imposes a heavy burden on both health and productivity. In this study, we sought to estimate the potential productivity gains associated with the prevention of type 2 diabetes over the next ten years in Australia.

Methods: Dynamic life table models were constructed to estimate years of life lived and productivity-adjusted life years (PALYs) lived by Australians aged 20 to 69 years over the period from 2020 to 2029. The models distinguished people with and without type 2 diabetes. PALYs were ascribed a financial value equivalent to gross domestic product (GDP) per full time worker in Australia (approximately AUD $200,000). The model simulation was first undertaken assuming currently-expected trends in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, and then repeated assuming hypothetically that the incidence was reduced. The difference between the modelled outputs reflected the impact of new cases of type 2 diabetes on productivity, as well as the potential benefits of prevention. An annual 5% discount rate was applied to all outcomes.

Results: Over the next decade, 140 million years of life and 87 million PALYs will be lived by Australians of working age, contributing AUD$18.0 trillion to the country’s GDP. A 10% reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes would result in a gain of 2,510 PALYs and AUD$532 million in GDP.

Conclusion: This study illustrates the health and economic impact of type 2 diabetes and the gains that could be potentially achieved from the implementation of effective prevention strategies. However, cost-effective evaluation of these prevention strategies are needed.


KM is supported by the Research Training Programme (RTP) scholarship provided by Monash University.