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Two-thirds of Aussies Living a Life Plagued with Health Issues Due to Uncontrolled Risk Factors

Hear Foundation - Health Issues

The National Heart Foundation says the release of the Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease—Australian facts: risk factors report is another wake up call for the Federal Government to commit to more health dollars being spent on prevention.

Heart Foundation National CEO Mary Barry said it was shameful the Federal Government spends only 1.7 per cent of our health expenditure on prevention.

“This is a far cry from the New Zealand Government who spend seven per cent or the Canadian Government at almost six per cent. We are third bottom of all the OECD countries,” Ms Barry said.

The report, which uses data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011–12 Australian Health Survey paints a disturbing picture of the multitude of risk factors in the Australia population putting the majority of Australians at risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and some cancers.

Ninety five per cent of adults did not consume recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables in their diets, 56 per cent were inactive or insufficiently active, 20 per cent exceeded lifetime alcohol risk guidelines and 16 per cent smoked daily.

“These are not just statistics, they are early death sentences.

“Two-thirds of the adult population (66 per cent) were reported as having three or more risk factors at the same time, including 10 per cent with five or six risk factors.

“People with multiple risk factors have markedly increased risk, and could face a lifetime plagued with illness,” Ms Barry said.

Adults living with cardiovascular disease were more likely to have uncontrolled high blood pressure (2.1 times), be overweight or obese (1.3 times), have dyslipidaemia (1.3 times) and be inactive or insufficiently active (1.2 times).

Four in five adults with cardiovascular disease (84 per cent) also reported having three or more risk factors at the same time, including 18 per cent with five or six risk factors.

“This should be a wake up call for all governments that prevention must not be neglected and much more needs to be done to address the modifiable risk factors.

“Cardiovascular disease remains the biggest killer of Australians and is the most expensive disease to treat nationally.

“Whilst great work has been made in some areas such as plain packaging tobacco, we need to be doing more to tackle physical inactivity which has emerged as a separate risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is having no small part in our growing waist lines,” she said.

The Heart Foundation has welcomed the Minister for Health and the Minister for Sport, Sussan Ley’s announcement today to get more Aussies moving through organised sport saying, getting more people physically active will help drive down the rates of cardiovascular disease along with kidney disease, diabetes and some cancers.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to continue this commitment by focussing more of the health budget on prevention.

“We need to ensure people are ageing healthily and we can only do that by investing in prevention programs, and a national physical activity strategy,” Ms Barry said.

Full report available at: www.aihw.gov.au

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