THE latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s biennial report on health highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to cardiovascular disease prevention, control and research.
According to the report 85% of Australians rate their health good or better, however, ironically, nearly half don’t exercise enough, obesity rate of adults is increasing, the majority do not eat enough vegetables and 50% have a chronic disease.
Although many factors contributing to the nation’s poor health were preventable, as identified in the Heart Foundation `Australian Heart Maps’ released last month, the report highlighted that socioeconomic disadvantage was playing a crucial role too.
Heart Foundation National CEO Adj Prof John Kelly said all Australians should have access to quality health care and opportunities to undertake preventative measures such as being active, eating healthy and affordable infrastructure.
“Cardiovascular disease – principally heart, stroke and blood vessel disease – kills large numbers of Australians and causes much suffering, but has preventable risk factors,” Adj Prof John Kelly said.
“The Heart Foundation has led the way in funding successful research, prevention and treatment that has led to decades of declining cardiovascular death rates, but results evident here indicate complacency amongst the whole community.
“With an ageing population and the list of risk factors getting worse, more leadership must be undertaken by government to encourage individuals to more actively engage in prevention strategies.
“Governments need to invest more in prevention, particularly by supporting general practice in detecting those at high risk of heart attacks and stroke through an Integrated Health Check. This makes economic and social sense.
“Those who have had a heart attack or live with heart disease must have access to life-saving cardiac rehabilitation; increased investment into cardiovascular research and support of projects addressing the very high rate of cardiovascular disease facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“By addressing these measures our nation’s heart health and quality of life will improve, which in turn will reduce hospital admissions and ease pressure on hard-pressed health budgets.
“We are pleased to see a strong approach to tobacco control and new measures to support better management of people with chronic conditions, as well as the development of a new strategic framework for chronic conditions, but more bang for buck will be achieved by addressing the burden of cardiovascular disease.”