Eight out of ten adult Australians are either physically
inactive, overweight, have high blood pressure or smoke
cigarettes-all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In fact,
about one in ten adult Australians have three or more of these
major risk factors which greatly increases their chance of
developing cardiovascular disease.
These facts and more can be found in a joint Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare and Heart Foundation of Australia
publication, Heart, stroke and vascular diseases: Australian facts
1999, to be launched on Monday to mark the beginning of National
Head of the AIHW's National Centre for Monitoring Cardiovascular
Disease, Dr Stan Bennett, said that death rates among Indigenous
Australians and people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged were
considerably higher than other Australians.
'Indigenous Australians aged 25 to 64 die from cardiovascular
disease at 7 to 9 times the rate of other Australians,' Dr Bennett
said. 'But cardiovascular disease not only causes death, it places
a heavy burden on all Australians in terms of illness and
disability, and its health care costs are more than those of any
Supporting Dr Bennett's comments, the Heart Foundation's
Director of Health, Medical and Scientific Affairs Professor Andrew
Tonkin said it was alarming that Australians in lower socioeconomic
groups were twice as likely to have multiple risk factor
'Many people fail to realise that the public health problem is
not so much individuals with one marked abnormality such as a
cholesterol level of 10, or a blood pressure level of 200, as much
as individuals with minor abnormalities in a number of risk factor
areas,' Professor Tonkin said.
Other facts contained in Heart, stroke and vascular diseases:
Australian facts 1999 include a dramatic increase in our proportion
of overweight and obese adult Australians. Men in 1995 weighed
3.6kg more than their counterparts in 1980, and women 4.8kg
Other data show that currently a 40-year-old's risk of having
coronary heart disease at some time in their future life is 1 in 2
for men and 1 in 3 for women. Similarly, men aged 45 have a 1 in 4
chance of having a stroke before the age of 85 and women have a 1
in 5 chance.
The report also indicates major changes in the treatment and
care of the disease, with a dramatic increase in use of lipid
lowering drugs and coronary stenting.
Heart, stroke and vascular diseases was produced under a new
Memorandum of Understanding between the AIHW-Australia's national
agency for health and welfare statistics and information, and
Australia's leading agency in the continuing fight against
cardiovascular disease-the Heart Foundation of Australia.
3 May 1999
Further information: Dr Stan Bennett or Sushma
Mathur, AIHW, ph. 02 6244 1171, or Dr Paul Magnus, AIHW, Medical
Adviser, ph. 02 6244 1149.Media inquiries: Mr Nigel Harding, AIHW, ph. 02
6244 1025 or 04 0701 2520 (mobile), or Ms Anne Hayward, Heart
Foundation, ph. 04 1466 7727 (mobile) or 04 1466 7729
For media copies of the report: Mrs Lena Searle, AIHW,
ph. 02 6244 1032.Availability: Check the AIHW for details.
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