Abernethy Healthy Lifestyle Association

Subtitle

Abernethy Healthy Lifestyle Association’s primary purpose is to improve the health of people in its area by co-ordinating the provision of opportunities and infrastructure that will help prevent those diseases that are related to physical inactivity.


The World Health Organisation says, “The world health report 2002 describes in detail how, in most countries, a few major risk factors account for much of the morbidity and mortality. For noncommunicable diseases, the most important risks included high blood pressure, high concentrations of cholesterol in the blood, inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, overweight or obesity, physical inactivity and tobacco use. Five of these risk factors are closely related to diet and physical activity. Unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are thus among the leading causes of the major noncommunicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, and contribute substantially to the global burden of disease, death and disability. Other diseases related to diet and physical inactivity, such as dental caries and osteoporosis, are widespread causes of morbidity.”[1]


Dr Lyn Roberts, National CEO Heart Foundation says that “Physical inactivity kills 16000 Australians a year and costs our health budget $1.5billion annually."[2]

According to the Heart Foundation website, “Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of death in Australia. It is also a major cause of disability, with many people reporting problems or needing assistance with daily activities."[3]


The Diabetes Australia website says “The 2005 Australian AusDiab Follow-up Study (Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study) showed that 1.7 million Australians have diabetes but that up to half of the cases of type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed. By 2031 it is estimated that 3.3 million Australians will have type 2 diabetes (Vos et al., 2004). The total financial cost of type 2 diabetes is estimated at $10.3 billion. Of this, carer costs were estimated as $4.4 billion, productivity losses were $4.1 billion, health system costs were $1.1 billion and $1.1 billion was due to obesity."[4]


The peak body “Diabetes Australia” publishes that “In Australia, nearly two thirds of men and half of all women are overweight or obese. This is a key factor in the alarming rise of type 2 diabetes. Yet up to 60 per cent of diabetes cases could be prevented, or at least delayed, by people maintaining a healthy weight. The main keys to long-term weight loss and reducing your waist measurement are healthy eating and regular physical activity."[5]


Statistics indicate that the need for prevention of these types of diseases in our local government area (Cessnock) is urgent.

The following tables are extracted from a January 2012 submission by Cessnock City Council to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs for the “Factors Affecting the Supply of Health Services and Medical Professionals in Rural Areas”.

The sources for these statistics are :-

  • PHIDU, Population Health Profile of the Hunter Rural Division of General Practice, (2005).
  • PHIDU, Population Health Profile of the Hunter Rural Division of General Practice, (2008).


“The table below articulates further the actual rates of diseases and/or lifestyle indicators within the Cessnock Local Government Area and provides a comparison to New South Wales. It is notes that the table reflects an unacceptably high prevalence of concerning health issues for the Cessnock Local Government Area in comparison to New South Wales.

Disease and/or Lifestyle Indicators

(2004-2005)


 

Cessnock Local

Government

(Rates per 1000

population)


 

New South Wales

(State Average, Rates per 1000 population)

  Estimated number of people with circulatory system disease
190.4
 176.9
  Estimated number of people with at least one of four major health risk factors, 18 years and over
671.6 
540.0 
  Estimated number of people that had Type 2 diabetes and were overweight, obese person aged 15 years and over
40.6 
26 
  Estimated number of people who are physically inactive, aged 15 years and over
416.1 
333.3 



This higher incidence in Cessnock LGA correlates with higher premature mortality rates as shown below.


The below table reflects the “Premature Mortality by Cause” for the Cessnock Local Government Area and makes a comparison with rates for New South Wales.


Premature Mortality

by Cause

(2004-2005

 

Cessnock Local

Government

(Rates per 1000

population)

 

New South Wales

(State Average, Rates per 1000 population)

Cancer

(15 to 64 year)

87.0 
75.9 
 Circulatory System

(15 to 64 years)

55.5 
38 
 Diseases from Respiratory

(15 to 64 years)

10.3 
7.8 


Although the link between obesity and heart disease is relatively well-known and the World Health Organisation has stated that “Unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are thus among the leading causes of the major noncommunicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer"[6], it may be a surprise to many that clinical studies and trials have also shown that weight loss through dieting or gastric bypass surgery is associated with improvement of asthma symptoms[7],[8].


A reduction in obesity will likely drop premature mortality rates.


The submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs goes on to estimate using the PHIDU 2008 data, comparisons of obesity rates between Cessnock and the NSW population in the following table.


“ The below table reflects the rates of overweight and obesity for the Cessnock Local Government Area.

Health Issue
Rates per 1000 population for the Cessnock LGA
 Rates per 1000 population

for NSW

Estimated number of obese females, 15 years and over Estimated number of obese females, 15 years and over
196.8 
 141.2
Estimated number of obese males, 15 years and over
 210.7
169.2 
Estimated number of overweight (not obese) females, 15 years and over
 261.9
234.4 
Estimated number of overweight (not obese) males, 15 years and over
391.1 
389.4 
Estimated number of people in normal weight range, 15 years and over
 351
407.7 


Clearly, something needs doing and Abernethy Healthy Lifestyle Association is focused on increasing the success of disease prevention in the local area by co-ordinating programs, strategies and opportunities designed to prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancers and others diseases for which obesity is a significant contributing risk factor.


Dr Lyn Roberts, National CEO Heart Foundation says that “The simple act of walking for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as half."[9]


According to British NHS website (UK’s biggest health website), “it's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia"[10]

NHS also has stated “In recent years, studies have shown that regular physical activity also has benefits for mental health. Exercise can help people recover from depression and prevent them from becoming depressed in the first place."[11]


]1\ “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health” , WHO May 2004, the 57th World Health Assembly (WHA) http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/strategy/eb11344/strategy_english_web.pdf

[2] http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/driving-change/current-campaigns/Pages/australian-vision-active-transport.aspx, Joint Media Release 6 July 2011.

[3] http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/cardiovascular-conditions/Pages/default.aspx

[4] http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Understanding-Diabetes/Diabetes-in-Australia/

[5] http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/en/Understanding-Diabetes/Are-You-at-Risk/

[6] “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health” , WHO May 2004, the 57th World Health Assembly (WHA) http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/strategy/eb11344/strategy_english_web.pdf

[7] Stenius-Aarniala, B. Et al. Immediate and long term effects of weight reduction in obese people with asthma : randomiszed controlled study. Br Med. J. 320, 827-832 (2000)

[8] Dhabuwala, A., Cannan, R.J. & Stubbs, R.S. Improvement in co-morbidites following weight loss from gastic bypass surgery. Obes. Surg. 10, 428-435 (2000).

[9] http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/driving-change/current-campaigns/Pages/australian-vision-active-transport.aspx, Joint Media Release.

[10] http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/stress-relief-exercise.aspx

[11] http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/exercise-for-depression.aspx