Hearts, weight a worry

Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times

Collie had the highest rate of obesity in the State during the 2014-15 financial year, according to data released by the Heart Foundation’s Heart Maps.

The data also shows Bunbury had the highest number of heart-related hospital admissions in the South West during the same time period.

The maps plot hospital admission rates for heart-related conditions at national, State and local government levels and also include smoking and obesity rates at a local level.

The map compares the regions using age-standardised rates per 10,000 residents, which researchers said allowed for more accurate comparisons to be made across regions that had differences in population and age.

According to the data, 34.3 per cent of Collie’s population were considered to be obese with the information coming from the Australian Health Survey findings.

Collie also recorded the highest number of smokers in the South West with 23.3 per cent of the population identified during 2014-15.

While the obesity rate was the highest in the State, Collie ranked 172 out of 447 locations nationally.

Bunbury’s rate of 58.1 heart-related hospitalisations is considered to be well above the national average and was ranked 153 out of 502 locations in Australia.

Heart Foundation national chief executive professor John Kelly said the latest research showed the residential location of a person had a big impact on their heart health.

“The Heart Foundation believes everyone should have the opportunity to make choices that allow them to live a healthy life, regardless of who they are or where they live,” he said.

“There are also other ways in which the health system could better address the heart health needs of Australians. This begins with more heart health checks by GPs and preventative health measures.

“Secondly, helping people better recognise the symptoms of a heart attack, and act on them immediately, would result in more people getting to hospital quicker. And lastly, greater access to cardiac rehabilitation programs is critical for people who have suffered a first heart attack, especially those in these rural and remote areas, as rehabilitation can help prevent a second heart event.”

The Heart Maps, background information and a full report describing the data and analysis are available at www.heartfoundation.org.au.

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