New results released today by Diabetes Tasmania and the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania reveal a
statewide coaching program is hitting health targets, recording significant health outcomes for its
Tasmanian participants.

Diabetes Tasmania’s The COACH Program® has recorded a reduction in participants’ risk of complications
associated with diabetes and increases in their physical activity levels, quality of life and life expectancy
since it began in 2009.

A total of 527 Tasmanians have been involved and results have revealed a reduction in their diabetes risk
factor target levels, including HbA1c*, LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, blood lipids/triglycerides
and blood pressure.

Diabetes Tasmania CEO Caroline Wells said the program was the only disease management coaching
program in Australia proven to be effective in two published trials.

“Long-term projections indicate that The COACH Program® may lead to delayed onset of diabetes
complications, substantial increases in life expectancy and decreased total costs for Type 2 diabetes
patients,” Ms Wells said.

“The program costs around $1296.40 per participant to run, while participation in the program has been
demonstrated to save approximately $2902.00 per participant, compared to usual care alone over a
patient’s lifetime, equating to a total saving of $1,529,354 to date.

“All coaching staff are registered health professionals (Accredited Practising Dietitians, Registered Nurses or
Diabetes Nurse Educators) and the coaching provided covers lifestyle factors and medication management,
with a strong focus on self-management and patient empowerment.

“Coaching staff have access to patient pathology, used to tailor advice and comprehensive communication is
provided after each coaching session to both the participant and their health care provider or General
Practitioner.”

Tasmanians adults (18 years and over) are eligible for the program if they have been diagnosed with type 2
diabetes, have significant biomedical risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, or have scored 12 points or
more on the AUSDRISK Tool, available online at: www.ausdrisk.com.au.

The COACH Program®, funded by the State Government, is free and participants are offered ongoing followup
to support long term behaviour change.

*A form of haemoglobin measured primarily to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time.

Fact sheet

In two years and 11 months of The COACH Program® at Diabetes Tasmania (from 28 January 2009 to 31 December
2011), 527 patients have participated in the program: 479 with type 2 diabetes, 26 with prediabetes and 22 with high
risk of diabetes.

Definitions
HbA1c:
• A form of haemoglobin measured primarily to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over
prolonged periods of time.
• The HbA1c test is currently the best way to check that diabetes is under control. The level of HbA1c reflects
the average blood glucose level over the past 3 months.
• The red blood cells in our blood stream are made of haemoglobin. The glucose in our blood sticks to the
haemoglobin to make a ‘glycosylated haemoglobin’ molecule called ‘haemoglobin A1c’ or’HbA1c’. The glucose
gets into the red blood cells and sticks to the red blood cells.
• The more glucose in the blood, the more HbAlc will be present in the blood. The HbA1c is a measure of the
amount (percentage) of sugar inside the red blood cells.
• Research shows that once the HbA1c level is greater than 7%, the rate of complications of diabetes steeply
increases – there is a higher level of damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and circulation and increased risk of
heart attack and stroke.
LDL Cholesterol:
• Cholesterol is vital for healthy cells – it is so important that the liver can make its own if sources from the diet
are in short supply.
• However, if our blood contains more LDL cholesterol (more LDL particles) than we need, the excess LDLcholesterol
starts to build up in the lining of the arteries and form fatty plaques. The build up of fatty plaques
in the arteries is called atherosclerosis.
• Arteries which are loaded with fat are prone to develop clots at any time.
• The plaque and clot may inflame the walls of the artery and may narrow or clog up the arteries that supply the
heart, brain and other parts of the body.
Blood lipids/triglycerides:
• Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood stream. When dietary fat is digested it forms
triglycerides, which are absorbed into the blood.
• A high blood triglyceride level increases the risk of blood clots (thrombosis) and may lead to a reduction
in’good’ (HDL) cholesterol, which is bad.
• High triglyceride levels are common in people with diabetes, the obese and alcoholics.
Blood Pressure:
• It is the pressure of the blood in the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body.
• We need a certain amount of pressure to pump the blood around the body.
• Where the pressure is higher than it needs to be it can cause damage to the body.
• This damage may be serious and ineversible so it’s important that high blood pressure is kept under control.
Diabetes Tasmania