Barrie fights diabetes by embracing healthy living

Prevention is key to good health

LIFESTYLE CHANGE: Barrie Cooper has renewed his passion for photography. Picture: PETER WEAVING

LIFESTYLE CHANGE: Barrie Cooper has renewed his passion for photography. Picture: PETER WEAVING

BARRIE Cooper got the shock of his life when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes on November 22 last year.

The 78-year-old wildlife photography enthusiast has no family history of the disease and hadn't been experiencing any signs or symptoms.

"It was a real kick in the guts," Mr Cooper said. "Here I'd lived for 77 years and I'd eaten and drunk what I'd wanted.

"But I read up what the consequences were and my doctor said I had to go to a podiatrist, a diabetes educator and a dietitian. I was determined to do what I had to do so I cut out all the things you'd die for like chocolate and soft drink and fried food."

Combining healthy eating with daily walks and a renewed interest in his wildlife photography, Mr Cooper managed to lose 13 kilograms in three months.

"I started walking up to eight kilometres a day," Mr Cooper said.

The lifestyle change has had a positive effect on Mr Cooper's diabetes and he's now encouraging other people to embrace a healthy lifestyle to ward of any unwanted health outcomes.

Mr Cooper shared his story as part of National Diabetes Week which is marked from July 13 to 19.

Diabetes Australia has launched a new prevention campaign urging all Australians to see if they are at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The condition can be prevented or delayed in up to 58 per cent of cases through early detection and lifestyle modification. 

Diabetes Australia chief executive Professor Greg Johnson said the threat of developing Type 2 diabetes was very real. 

“What many people don’t realise is that Type 2 diabetes doesn’t just affect older people or those who are overweight or obese," he said. "Type 2 diabetes can affect anyone.  It is a serious and complex condition. Many people don't take the type 2 diabetes risk seriously." 

People can view the premiere of the campaign community service announcement at

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