A University of the Sunshine Coast academic is working to discover the link between diabetes and a muscle-wasting condition that is becoming increasingly prevalent.
Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics Dr Anthony Villani says that while diabetes is on the rise, so too is sarcopenia - an inflammatory condition that can accelerate the loss of muscle mass and strength, and is usually brought on by ageing.
“We are seeing the onset of sarcopenia at earlier ages now, and emerging evidence suggests people with diabetes are at increased risk,” Dr Villani said.
“It’s important we get to the bottom of it to see if this is the case because people are not only losing their health and wellbeing, but their independence as well.”
Dr Villani is looking to recruit 200 people on the Sunshine Coast over 50 years old with type 2 diabetes to be assessed at the University’s Sippy Downs campus for the study, which is being conducted by Nutrition and Dietetics students Rebecca McClure and Michelle Barrett.
The assessment will feature a free body composition scan to determine muscle and fat distribution, physical performance tests, a quality-of-life assessment, and a detailed evaluation.
“We also hope to be able to determine whether adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a decreased risk of muscle loss,” Dr Villani said.
“More people are eating more highly-processed and energy-dense foods these days, so we need to know if this is making these problems worse.
“Then we need to look at the reasons people may not be following good diets that include good oils, nuts and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.”