Joined the programme in 2022

Sydney became the first Australian city to join the Cities Changing Diabetes network in December 2022, launching the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes partnership with a host of grassroots activities. The city will initially focus on supporting two populations with a high risk of diabetes and obesity: Western Sydney and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Western Sydney Changing Diabetes partnership includes Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD), Workers Lifestyle Group (WLG) and Indigenous controlled non-profit, ‘Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up!’.


Diabetes and obesity are Australia’s largest and fastest growing chronic disease burden, and Western Sydney is a particular hotspot. Western Sydney Diabetes estimates that 12% of the area’s residents have type 2 diabetes, and a further 38% have significant risk factors and at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who are strongly represented in Western Sydney’s demographics, are almost 3 times more likely to have diabetes compared to their non-indigenous counterparts.2

Key facts and figures



of people in Western Sydney are estimated to be living with diabetes3



of adults in Australia are living with overweight or obesity4



of children and adolescents in Australia are living with overweight or obesity5

> 50%


of Western Sydney’s population is overweight6


Type 2 diabetes is more frequent and has an earlier onset among Indigenous populations residing in Western Sydney7

Western Sydney Changing Diabetes has arranged a series of related launch activities so far, with more programming under development.

The Workers Lifestyle Group will host a diabetes detection pilot, offering free HbA1C testing through fellow CCD partner Western Sydney Diabetes. Alongside the detection project the partners have organised a series of lifestyle interventions including cooking classes and line dancing as well as a comprehensive information pack highlighting healthy living resources in Western Sydney. SiSu Health Stations have been installed at the Workers Lifestyle Group Clubs to enable members to baseline and then track basic health metrics when they visit the clubs. The stations will provide supplemental health improvement tools and support engagement with healthcare professionals based on the data collected.

Cities Changing Diabetes Sydney and the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes partners are also sponsoring a roll-out of The Good Tucker App, an app developed by Indigenous non-profit ‘Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up!’ to provide an easy way for users to identify healthy food options in stores. Roll-out of the app will include extensive digital and community engagement activities to maximize app uptake.

In the long-term, the partners aim to explore further opportunities to reduce the rise in obesity and diabetes across Sydney among groups with the highest risk.


“The only way to address the upward trend in diabetes and its risk factors is for the community to understand the importance of the issue. We believe the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes partnership will provide the support we need to help us identify and make a change to the health of at-risk people in western Sydney.”

—Professor Glen Maberly. Prof Glen Maberly, Director Western Sydney Diabetes, Integrated and Community Health


“WSD has established an Alliance of 140 member organisations who work together to change the environment of western Sydney in terms of food, activity and the urban environment. The formation of the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes partnership will enable the implementation of new powerful initiatives with the potential to reach and elicit lifestyle change in a large proportion of our at-risk population. The core WSCD partners will build on our collaboration with other stakeholders including our Alliance partners to ensure diabetes and wellbeing remain priorities for local and State bodies.”

—Janine Dawson, Diabetes Prevention Manager, Western Sydney Diabetes


“Community initiated solutions supported by Government agencies, community and business organisations are the best way to deal with the scourge of diabetes.  Novo Nordisk brings international expertise and a proven global strategy to successfully address diabetes issues faced by the local community.  Together we can make a real difference and improve people’s lives.”

—Mr. Stephen Bali, NSW State MP for Blacktown