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07 April 2021
An area stretching from Ararat to Mildura has ranked second out of 17 Victorian regions for heart-attack hospital admissions and deaths from coronary heart disease.
The Heart Foundation produced the statistics based on a survey of 7000 Australian adults as it launched a program to motivate more people to take up regular walking.
Its figures showed that 52 of every 10,000 people or 22 percent above the state average in the state’s north-west, including Ararat, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack municipalities, were hospitalised for coronary heart disease.
The region’s rate of heart-attack hospital admissions was 17.3 of every 10,000 people or about 27 percent above the Victorian state average.
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The death rate for coronary heart disease in the snapshot region was 73.7 of every 100,000 people or about 20 percent above the state average.
In terms of heart-disease risk factors, the region also had the state’s highest smoking rate with 22 percent or 43 percent higher than the state average.
The region was also in the top five for physical inactivity at 70 percent, high blood pressure, 23 percent and obesity, 37 percent.
Heart Foundation chief executive Adjunct Professor John Kelly said research suggested many Australians knew movement was good for their hearts and had been advised by doctors to be more active.
“But they are not acting on this,” he said.
“Overall, around one in two Australians aged 18 to 64 – that’s almost eight-million people – are not active enough for good heart health. This is extremely concerning given physical inactivity is a key risk factor for heart disease, which takes 50 Australian lives each day, or one every 29 minutes.”
Free walking plans
The foundation has launched a free six-week Personal Walking Plans program where participants will receive a walking plan tailored to their activity levels.
It will deliver plans via weekly emails and texts designed to support and motivate participants.
It will also provide information about the benefits of walking beyond fitness and heart health.
“This is a vital component of the Personal Walking Plans, because as our survey shows, simply understanding that physical activity is good for the heart does not equate to getting off the couch,” Professor Kelly said.
“Over this six-week journey, participants will learn about some of the lesser-known benefits of regular walking, like unwinding at the end of a stressful day; exploring their neighbourhood; becoming stronger and more flexible; and improving their mood.
“Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of not only heart disease, but also stroke, diabetes, dementia and some cancers. It can also help maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.
“That’s why we often call walking a ‘wonder drug’. If it were a medicine, we would all be taking it daily for longer, healthier, happier lives.
“By highlighting the unique and holistic benefits of walking, we are confident of recruiting an enthusiastic new generation to our Heart Foundation walking family, while also continuing our mission to save Australian lives from heart disease.”
The Heart Foundation’s experts in physical activity and exercise science, with input from consultants at Exercise and Sports Science Australia, have developed the Personal Walking Plans.
People can get started with a free plan by visiting website walking.org.au.
The entire April 7, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!