NACCHO #HealthElection16 : Labor’s five-point plan to prevent chronic disease welcomed by Health peaks

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“ Labor’s plan represents a comprehensive commitment to action that closely mirrors Prevention 1st’s Election Platform released earlier this month, and would go a long way to addressing the five risk factors.

Labor’s plan is distinguished by its strong focus on community-based action to tackle obesity and physical inactivity. It’s comprehensive but targeted; recognising that we need to focus efforts on communities most at risk from chronic disease, the value in awareness raising, in targeting those most at risk from smoking, and the importance of promoting physical activity and a healthy diet,”

“We particularly welcome the Healthy Communities Initiative. It takes a place-based approach that will enable communities and consumers to tailor localised strategies for better health that address the social determinants associated with poor health.

“What we need is a commitment to a long term direction. In the past, well-meaning measures have faltered because of the lack of a credible, enduring national drive necessary to convince consumers of the benefits of healthy lifestyle.

“Labor’s initiative is a welcome advance towards a healthier nation “

Consumer Health Forum of Australia, Chief Executive, Leanne Wells

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“Labor’s pledge was particularly important as it contained a dedicated plan to improve physical activity participation rates.

“The Heart Foundation has been urging all major parties to develop a national physical activity action plan,”.

“Some 57% of adults don’t meet the physical activity guidelines. With children it’s even worse at 80%. But if we all walked for 30 to 60 minutes most days a week, heart disease would drop by 35%, there’d be 20% fewer cases of breast and colon cancer, 40% less diabetes and 30 less depression.”

Heart Foundation Spokesperson on Physical Activity Trevor Shilton

A Shorten Labor Government will tackle Australia’s chronic disease crisis through a preventive health package that helps families to raise healthy children, and keeps Australians healthy throughout their lives.

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia. One in three Australians suffer from at least one chronic disease, like heart disease or diabetes.

Many of these diseases are due to preventable risk factors such as physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking and harmful use of alcohol.

This package will have a total financial impact of $300 million over four years

Labor has a five-point plan to prevent chronic disease:

  1. Investing in 50 Healthy Communities nationwide, to help communities at the greatest risk of chronic disease to stay well.
  2. Tackling obesity through Australia’s first National Physical Activity Strategy and a National Nutrition Framework.
  3. Expanding the successful Better Health Channel into a nationwide platform for health information.
  4. Continuing the push to reduce smoking rates, particularly in at-risk communities.
  5. Addressing harmful use of alcohol through a National Alcohol Strategy.

1.Healthy Communities

A Shorten Labor Government will establish 50 Healthy Communities.

Labor will identify the communities that are most at risk of chronic disease and invest in keeping them healthy.

These communities will receive targeted support that is specific to their needs.

For example, Labor’s investment will help food producers, distributors and vendors to make healthy food options available in schools, workplaces and communities.

Labor will also work with local and state governments to encourage physical activity, for example, by building walking and cycling paths.

2.Tackling obesity through a National Physical Activity Strategy and Nutrition Framework

A Shorten Labor Government will develop Australia’s first National Physical Activity Strategy.

Australia is one of the most overweight countries in the world. About two-thirds of Australian adults and a quarter of Australian children are overweight or obese.

Participation in sport and both formal and informal activity will play a big part in Labor’s Strategy. A key finding from international experience is that we need to build physical activity into the day-to-day lives of all Australians – not just those who play organised sport – for example, by encouraging people to stand and walk more.

A Shorten Labor Government will also introduce a National Nutrition Framework. As part of the Framework, a Shorten Labor Government will work with food producers and retailers to expand the utilisation of the Health Star Rating system.

On top of these population-wide measures, Labor will ensure a particular focus on children’s nutrition, including through a $5 million commitment to the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. Improving what kids eat can help to address the alarming rates of childhood obesity, as well as establish healthy eating habits for life.

3.National Better Health Channel

A Shorten Labor Government will make the Better Health Channel a national health information platform, providing the health information that all Australians need, and linking them to the services and supports available in their communities, to help Australians better manage their own health.

4.Driving down smoking rates, particularly in at-risk communities

A Shorten Labor Government will help vulnerable groups stop smoking.

Thanks to Labor’s world-leading tobacco control measures, such as advertising bans and plain packaging, just 16 per cent of Australians now smoke daily. But smoking still kills 15,000 Australians a year, and remains one of the top three causes of disease.

Smoking also disproportionally affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Australians with a mental illness, people living in rural or remote areas and those in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage.

Based on expert advice, a Shorten Labor Government will invest $20 million in a scaled-up National Tobacco Campaign. Labor will also invest $30 million in targeting at-risk populations such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and Australians with mental illness through Primary Health Networks.

As announced in November 2015, a Shorten Labor Government will also continue the existing annual 12.5 per cent annual tobacco increases for a further four years from 2017, a measure since copied by the Turnbull Government.

5.Addressing harmful use of alcohol through a National Alcohol Strategy

Some Australians drink at levels that put themselves and those around them at risk. More than one in four Australians binge drink at least once a month. This sort of consumption puts drinkers at higher risk of injury, brain and liver disease, and other chronic diseases like obesity.

A Shorten Labor Government will develop a new National Alcohol Strategy. The Strategy will focus on evidence-based measures to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms, including alcohol related violence. It will also focus on the riskiest behaviours, such as binge drinking, and the most vulnerable populations, such Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and young Australians.

As part of the Strategy, Labor will strengthen work to limit alcohol advertising to children and work with State, Territory and local Government to reduce children’s exposure in other settings.

This package will have a total financial impact of $300 million over four years.

Door stop interviews Saturday launch

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION:

Thank you and good morning everybody. It’s great, as an absent netball dad, to see this netball factory turning out so many young people who are playing competitive sport on a Saturday. I just want to complement the parents and the volunteers here in particular for driving such a fantastic hub of activity. Indeed, what Labor is committed to, is the replication of what we see here all over Australia.

Labor’s already outlined its sensible policies to help save Medicare, properly fund our hospitals, keep the price of medicine down, make sure there’s no privatisation of our Medicare system. Today we want to put into place the final part of our strategy for a healthy Australia. I’m talking about preventative health strategies. Every Australian knows whatever they can do to improve their health means we’re going to have better health the longer we live. Making sure Australians are healthy and have healthy lifestyles is a key part of making sure we live longer lives with more meaning and quality.

What we’re announcing today is a package of measures to get Australians moving. To make sure physical activity becomes more a part of Australians’ lives.

We’ve got a plan. Talking about healthy communities, tackling obesity, the scourge of alcohol abuse, and, of course, tobacco, backed up by better health channels. Underpinning our health vision for the next ten and fifteen years in Australia is to get Australians more physically active. It doesn’t have to be competitive sport, it could be just walking and doing more non-competitive sport activities. But what we understand, is if Australians take greater care of their health, they are going to have longer lives with fewer health challenges the older they live.

We want to tackle chronic disease. The problem is once someone has severe diabetes and they are in the hospital system, the cost is expensive not just to the patient but to the whole system. The more we can do earlier to encourage young people to fall in love with sporting activities, to encourage adults who might have got out of the habit of playing sport to walk a bit more, to pay more attention to what they’re eating and drinking, then what that does is lays the foundation for a healthier future for all Australians.

What I’d like to do now is ask my Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, to talk further about our plan on that. What I’d like to do after that is just come back and talk briefly about our plan for the Central Coast of New South Wales, and our plan for putting forward a Roads Rescue Package. But perhaps we’ll hand over to Catherine now and I’ll finish off on the Central Coast.

CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH:

Thanks for that, Bill, and it’s great to be here with Emma and Anne on the Central Coast. We know one in three Australians have a chronic disease; diabetes or heart disease. One third of the burden of disease in this country is actually preventable.

We also know two-thirds of adults and one-quarter of kids are overweight or obese. We have to do better. I am so proud of Bill’s leadership on this issue.

We really want to see Australians moving more, leading a national effort to actually start to turn the tide on chronic disease. Our plan involves 50 healthy communities across the nation built on the successful Victorian program that has really seen, at the local government level, healthy kids, healthy communities and healthy workplaces.

A community based intervention program proven to work and to actually get people eating well and more physically active.

Tackling obesity through Australia’s first national physical activity strategy. We’ve had the Heart Foundation, Diabetes Australia, Cancer Council, the Sporting Codes calling for a national physical activity for the last few years. Labor will deliver one. We’ll deliver with the national nutrition framework; a framework that assists people and assists communities to start to make sure we understand how we eat well in this country.

It also includes a $5 million investment in the fantastic Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.

A program teaching young people and their parents about how to grow food, how to work together in their communities.

About making sure we can make healthy food choices. We’re also going to take the better health channel. I don’t know if we’ve got too many parents in the room here – we’ve got quite a few at the back there – but the better health channel is the platform many parents in this country use now to get information about the health of their children – preventable health – but also trying to work out where services are in the local community.

We’re working with the Victorian State Government to make that the national platform for health information for all Australians. To make sure we then can get our positive messages out through the better health channel. We also want to have a new national alcohol strategy, making sure we are actually continuing to take action on dangerous levels of drinking.

It’s only a Shorten Labor Government committed to prevention and I do want to thank Bill for his extraordinary leadership on this particular health policy, thank you.

 

LABOR PUTS PREVENTION 1st – BLUEPRINT TO TACKLE CHRONIC DISEASE WELCOMED BY PREVENTIVE HEALTH ALLIANCE =

Labor has put chronic disease prevention firmly on the election campaign agenda today, releasing its plan for Healthy communities and chronic disease prevention.

This morning’s announcement has been welcomed by Prevention 1st, a preventive health alliance led by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), Consumer Health Forum of Australia and Alzheimer’s Australia, that has been calling on all political parties to commit to efforts to reduce chronic disease ahead of the July election.

Today’s announcement follows the Labor Party’s commitment to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, stroke and dementia announced over the past week and equates to an investment in health of more than $350 million.

Alzheimer’s Australia’s Chief Executive Carol Bennett congratulated the Labor Party for resuscitating its commitment to preventive health and building on the work of the Preventative Health Taskforce.

“I commend the Labor Party for acknowledging the importance of preventive health. We know that investing today secures the health of our children and of future generations, but will save lives,” Ms Bennett said.

At least 31 per cent of the disease burden can be prevented if governments would target five modifiable risk factors; tobacco use (9%), high body mass (5.5%), alcohol use (5.1%), physical inactivity (5%) and high blood pressure (4.9%).

Consumer Health Forum of Australia, Chief Executive, Leanne Wells says Labor’s plan represents a comprehensive commitment to action that closely mirrors Prevention 1st’s Election Platform released earlier this month, and would go a long way to addressing the five risk factors.

Labor’s plan is distinguished by its strong focus on community-based action to tackle obesity and physical inactivity. It’s comprehensive but targeted; recognising that we need to focus efforts on communities most at risk from chronic disease, the value in awareness raising, in targeting those most at risk from smoking, and the importance of promoting physical activity and a healthy diet,” Ms Wells said.

FARE Chief Executive, Michael Thorn was particularly encouraged by Labor’s acknowledgement that children must be protected from alcohol advertising, it’s timing coming just days before another alcohol-drenched State of Origin game.

Mr Thorn says it is now up to the Coalition to indicate how it intends responding to Australia’s greatest heath challenge.

“We have been saying for a number of weeks in the lead up to the Federal Election that Australians deserve to know how the parties plan on tackling Australia’s greatest health challenge. In the wake of this morning’s announcement I now call on the Coalition to show its commitment and vision for tackling chronic disease in Australia,” Mr Thorn said.

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