01/07/2016 14:43 EST | Updated 01/07/2017 00:12 EST

High seniors' diabetes rates call for Canada to implement national plan: doctor

VANCOUVER — A doctor trying to raise awareness about rising diabetes rates says Canada developed a national strategy 10 years ago but failed to implement it as more seniors are being diagnosed with the chronic disease.

Dr. David C.W. Lau says there's an urgent need for the current federal government to roll out a treatment and prevention plan because twice as many elderly people now have diabetes compared to younger adults.

Lau says diabetics over age 65 are part of a "silent global tsunami" that will hike health-care costs and burden economies.

The medical professor at the University of Calgary has written an editorial in the current edition of the "Canadian Journal of Diabetes," calling for better diagnosis and management of the disease.

He says Canada's system of tracking diabetes rates is "very conservative" and there's no registry of diagnosed cases.

Lau says the message for people to lose just one to three per cent of their body weight to reduce the risk of diabetes isn't being heeded, but doctors themselves often make poor lifestyle choices.


The Canadian Press