NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health : Dr @SandroDemaio presents a five-point policy plan using a lifeSPANS approach to address child obesity in Australia: #NCDs #EnoughNCDs @FAREAustralia @AHPA_AU @SaxInstitute

 

” The answer to obesity will never be in telling people what to do, guilting them for making unhealthier choices in a confusing consumption landscape, or by simply banning things. We also know that education and knowledge will get us only so far.

The real answers lie not even in inspiring populations to make hundreds of healthier decisions each and every day in the face of a seductively obesogenic, social milieu.

If we are to drive long‐term, sustained and scalable change, we must tweak the system to ensure those healthier choices become the path of least resistance—and eventually preferred. And I believe we must focus, initially, on our kids.

It is time for a lifeSPANS approach to addressing obesity in Australia.”

Dr Alessandro Demaio ” A $100 Million question ” see Bio in full Part 2

Download this Paper HERE : Demaio-2018-Health_Promotion_Journal_of_Australia

Listen to Dr Sandro’s childhood obesity Podcast HERE 

  ” The 2012-13 Health Survey identified that Indigenous adults were 1.6 times as likely to be obese as non-Indigenous Australians, with the prevalence increasing more rapidly in Aboriginal school-aged children.

Overweight and obesity in childhood are important predictors of adult adiposity, increasing the risk of developing a range of medical conditions, each of which is a major cause of morbidity, mortality and health expenditure.

While it is surprisingly clear what needs to be done to improve the health of Indigenous children, recent cuts to Indigenous preventative workforce and nutrition programs throughout Australia have severely reduced the capacity to respond.

Comprehensive primary health care is a key strategy for improving the health of Indigenous Australians and is an important platform from which to address complex health and social issues associated with obesity.

Closing the Gap, including the gap attributable to obesity, requires ensuring the ACCHS sector is resourced to deliver the full range of core services required under a comprehensive and culturally safe model of primary health care.

The effectiveness of ACCHSs has long been recognised, with many able to document better health outcomes than mainstream services for the communities they serve. “

Extract from NACCHO Network Submission to the Select Committee’s Obesity Epidemic in Australia Inquiry. 

Download the full 15 Page submission HERE

Obesity Epidemic in Australia – Network Submission – 6.7.18

Compelling populations, individuals or even ourselves to act pre‐emptively on the urgent and massive challenges of tomorrow is notoriously difficult.

The concept is called temporal or future discounting, and it is well documented.1 It is the idea that we prioritise our current comfort and happiness over our future and seemingly distant safety or wellbeing.

This psychological shortcoming plays out in many ways. At the micro level, we may defer until next week what we should do today—that run, drinking more water or the dentist check‐up—as it may not reap benefits for months, or ever. Eventually, we may act on some of these but whether delayed, deferred or denied, it can reap serious health consequences.

At the macro level, it becomes even more problematic. When we combine this “delay what’s beyond tomorrow” phenomenon with short‐term political cycles in the context of systems‐based, slowly evolving and largely invisible future threats, important but not yet imminent issues are not just postponed, but ignored.

Few challenges are a greater threat to the health of Australians, nor better define future discounting, than obesity. At the individual level and in our modern, obesogenic societies, weight gain has become the norm—the biological and social path of least resistance.

Food systems have shifted from a focus on seasonal, fresh and relatively calorie‐poor staples with minimal processing or meat, to an environment where junk foods and processed foods are ubiquitous, heavily advertised, hugely profitable and, for many communities, the only feasible “choice”.

Poor nutrition is now the leading risk factor for disease in our country.2City living has come with benefits, but along with an increasingly automated and digitalised lifestyle, has seen physical activity become something we must seek out, rather than an unavoidable component of our daily lives. Factors such as these have made individual action difficult for most of us and combined with our biology, have contributed to obesity rates more than doubling in Australia since 1980 alone.3

At the policy level, a dangerous, pernicious and unhealthy status quo has evolved over decades. One which sees a population increasingly affected by preventable, chronic disease. One which can only be solved through difficult decisions from politicians and the public to make the short‐term, passive but unhealthy comfort harder; and the long‐term promise of wellbeing more attractive.

One which must see sustained public demand and political commitment for a distant goal and best scenario of nil‐effect, in the face of constant, coordinated and powerful pushback, threats and careful intimidation from largely unprecedented policy counter‐currents.

But opportunities do exist; levers throughout this gridlocked policy landscape that can be utilised to move the obesity agenda forward.

One of those is our kids.

We know that if we cannot prevent obesity in our children, those young Australians will likely never achieve wellbeing.

We know that one in four of our children is overweight or obese and that while 5% of healthy weight kids become obese adults, up to 79% obese children will never realise a healthy weight.45 We know that the school years are a time when major weight gain occurs in our lifecourse and almost no one loses weight as they age.6

Recent evidence suggests early, simple interventions not only reduce weight and improve the health for our youngest kids, but also reduce weight in their parents.78 An important network of effective implementation platforms and primed partners already exist in our schools and teachers around the nation.

Finally, a large (but likely overstated) proportion of Australians may call “nanny state” at even the whiff of effective policies against obesity, but less so if those policies are aimed at our children.

With this in mind, I was recently invited to Canberra to present on how I would spend an extra $100 million each year on preventive health for the nation.

This is the five‐point policy plan I proposed; a lifeSPANS approach to addressing child obesity—and with it, equipping a new generation of Australians to act on tomorrow’s risks, today. This is an evidence‐based package to reduce the major sources of premature deaths, starting early.

1 .SCHOOLS AS PLATFORMS FOR HEALTH

  • $3 million to support the revision and implementation of clear, mandatory guidelines on healthy food in school canteens
  • $3 million to coordinate and support the removal of sales of sugary drinks
  • $13 million to expand food and nutrition programs to remaining primary schools
  • $40 million as $5000‐10 000 means‐tested grants for infrastructure that supports healthy eating and drinking in primary schools
  • $130 million to cover 1.7 million daily school breakfasts for every child at the 6300 primary schools nationally910
  • $140 million left from sugary drink tax revenue for school staffing and programs for nutrition and physical activity

Schools alone cannot solve the child obesity epidemic; however, it is unlikely that child obesity rates can be reversed without strong school‐based policies to support healthy eating and physical activity. Children and adolescents consume 19%‐50% of daily calories at school and spend more time there than in any other environment away from home.11 Evidence suggests that “incentives” are unlikely to result in behaviour change but peer pressure might.12 Therefore, learning among friends offers a unique opportunity to positively influence healthy habits.

Trials have demonstrated both the educational and health benefits of providing free school meals, including increased fruit and vegetable consumption, knowledge of a healthy diet, healthier eating at home and improved school performance. Providing meals to all children supports low‐income families and works to address health inequalities and stigma.10

School vending machines or canteens selling sugary drinks and junk foods further fuel an obesogenic, modern food environment. Sugary drinks are the leading source of added sugar in our diet in Australia and are considered a major individual risk factor for non‐communicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.13 Removing unhealthy foods and drinks from schools would support children, teachers and parents and send a powerful message to communities about the health harms of these products.

Finally, it is not only about taking things away but also supporting locally driven programs and the school infrastructure to support healthier habits. Drinking fountains, play equipment and canteen hardware could all be supported through small grants aimed at further empowering schools as decisions makers and agents for healthier kids.

2.PRICING THAT’S FAIR TO FAMILIES

  • 20% increase in sugary drinks pricing with phased expansion to fast foods over three years, unlocking approximately $400 million in annual revenue to add to existing $100 million for prevention
  • More than $600 million in annual health savings expected from sugary drinks price increase of 20%
  • $10 million for social marketing campaigns to explain the new policy measures, and benefits to community
  • Compensation package for farmers and small retailers producing and selling sugary drinks (cost unknown but likely small)
  • Such legislation would also support industry to reformulate or reshape product portfolios for long‐term market planning

Today’s food environment sees increased availability of lower cost, processed foods high in salt, fats and added sugars.14 People have less time to prepare meals and are influenced by aggressive food marketing. This leads to food inequality with those from low socioeconomic backgrounds at greater risk from obesity. Obesity increases the risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, mental health issues and premature death.15 There are also wider societal and economic costs amounting to an estimated $8.6 billion spent in the health sector alone annually.16

Food prices should be adjusted in relation to nutritional content. Policy makers must shift their pricing focus to integrate the true societal cost of products associated with fiscally burdensome disease. In 2016, a WHO report highlighted that a 20% increase in retail price of sugary drinks lowers consumption as well as obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.17

The landmark peso per litre sugar tax from Mexico highlighted the behaviour change potential such policies possess. Sales of higher priced beverages decreased substantially in subsequent years. Importantly, the most significant decreases occurred among the poorest households.18 For Australia, a similar approach is estimated to lead to $609 million in annual health savings and raise $400 million in direct revenue.16

These legislative approaches should be framed as an expansion of our existing GST and would encourage industry to reformulate products, positively influencing the food environment.131517

This is not a sin tax or ban, it is an effective policy and pricing that is fair to families. It is also backed by evidence and supported by the public.19

3. ADVERTISING THAT SUPPORTS OUR KIDS

  • End all junk food marketing to children, and between 6 am and 10 pm on television
  • End the use of cartoons on any food or drink packaging
  • $30 million to replace junk food sponsorship of sport and arts events with healthy messaging and explanation of lifeSPANS policy approach
  • Phased expansion of advertising ban over three years to all non‐essential foods (GST language)

The food industry knows that marketing works, otherwise they would not spend almost $400 million annually on advertisements in Australia alone.20

Three of four commercial food advertisements are for unhealthy products and evidence suggests that food advertising triggers cognitive processes that influence our food choices, similar to those seen in addiction. Studies also demonstrate that food commercials including the use of cartoons influence the amount of calories that children consume and the findings are particularly pronounced in overweight children.21

Fast food advertising at sporting and arts events further reinforces a dangerous and confusing notion that sees the direct association between societal heroes or elite athleticism and the unhealthiest of foods.

Ending junk food advertising to children, including any use of cartoons in the advertisement of food and drinks, is an important step to support our kids.

4.NUTRITION LABELLING THAT MAKES SENSE TO EVERYONE

  • Further strengthen existing labelling approaches, including mandatory systems

Nutritional information can be confusing for parents, let alone children. Food packaging often lists nutritional information in relation to portion size meaning a product with a higher figure may simply be larger rather than less healthy. While the Health Star Rating system, implemented in 2014, has made substantive progress, it remains voluntary.22

Efforts should be made to strengthen the usability of existing efforts and make consistent, evidence‐based and effective labelling mandatory. Such developments would also provide stronger incentives for manufacturers to reformulate products, reducing sugar, fat and salt content.

Clearer and consistent information would help create a more enabling food environment for families to make informed choices about their food.

5.SUPPLY CHAIN SYSTEMS AS SOLUTION‐CATALYSTS

  • Utilise procurement and supply chains of schools and public institutions to drive demand for healthier foods
  • Leverage the purchasing power of large organisations to reduce the costs of healthy foods for partner organisations and communities

Coordinated strategies are needed to support the availability of lower cost, healthy foods for all communities. Cities and large organisations such as schools and hospitals could collaborate to purchase food as collectives, thus driving demand, building market size and improving economies of scale.23

By leveraging collective purchasing power, institutions can catalyse the availability of sustainable and healthy foods to also support wider, positive food environment change.

Part 2

Dr Alessandro Demaio, or Sandro, trained and worked as a medical doctor at The Alfred Hospital in Australia.

While practicing as a doctor he completed a Master in Public Health including fieldwork to prevent diabetes through Buddhist Wats in Cambodia. In 2010, he relocated to Denmark where he completed a PhD with the University of Copenhagen, focusing on non-communicable diseases. His doctoral research was based in Mongolia, working with the Ministry of Health.

He designed, led and reported a national epidemiological survey, sampling more than 3500 households. Sandro held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School from 2013 to 2015, and was assistant professor and course director in global health at the Copenhagen School of Global Health, in Denmark.

He established and led the PLOS blog Global Health, and served on the founding Advisory Board of the EAT Foundation: the global, multi-stakeholder platform for food, health and environmental sustainability.

To date, he has authored over 23 scientific publications and more than 85 articles and blogs. In his pro bono work, Dr Demaio co-founded NCDFREE, a global social movement against noncommunicable diseases using social media, short film and leadership events – crowdfunded, it reached more than 2.5 million people in its first 18 months.

Then, in 2015, he founded festival21, assembling and leading a team of knowledge leaders in staging a massive and unprecedented, free celebration of community, food, culture and future in his hometown Melbourne. In November 2015, Sandro joined the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization’s global headquarters, as Medical Officer for noncommunicable conditions and nutrition.

From 2017, he is also co-host of the ABC television show Ask the Doctor – an innovative and exploratory factual medical series broadcasting weekly across Australia. Sandro is currently fascinated by systems-innovation and leadership; impact in a post-democracy; and the commercial determinants of disease. He also loves to cook.

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health #Nutrition #Obesity : @IndigenousPHAA The #AFL ladder of sponsorships such as soft drinks @CocaColaAU and junk food @McDonalds_AU endangers the health of our children

 “Aboriginal and Non- Aboriginal kids are being inundated with the advertising of alcohol, junk food and gambling through AFL sponsorship deals according to a new study.

With obesity and excessive drinking remaining a significant problem in our communities, it’s time for the AFL ladder of unhealthy sponsorship (see below) to end,

Children under the age of eight are particularly vulnerable to advertising because they lack the maturity and mental skills to evaluate the messages. Therefore, in the case of the AFL, they begin to associate unhealthy products with their favourite sport and players

We need to ask ourselves why Australia’s most popular winter sport is serving as a major advertising platform for soft drink, beer, wine, burgers and meat pies. It’s sending the wrong message to Australians that somehow these unhealthy foods and drinks are linked to the healthy activity of sport,”

Says the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA).

Read all NACCHO Aboriginal Health Nutrition / Obestity articles over 6 years HERE 

In the study published this week in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Australian researchers looked at the prevalence of sponsorship by alcohol, junk food and gambling companies on AFL club websites and on AFL player uniforms.

The findings were used to make an ‘AFL Sponsorship Ladder’, a ranking of AFL clubs in terms of their level of unhealthy sponsorships, with those at the top of the ladder having the highest level of unhealthy sponsors.

The study clearly demonstrated that Australia’s most popular spectator sport is saturated with unhealthy advertising.

Download PDF Copy of report NACCHO Unhealthy sponsors of sport

Ainslie Sartori, one of the authors involved in the research confirmed, “After reviewing the sponsorship deals of AFL clubs, we found that 88% of clubs are sponsored by unhealthy food and beverage companies. A third of AFL clubs are also involved in business partnerships with gambling companies.”

Recommendation 

Sponsorship offers companies an avenue to expose children and young people to their brand, encouraging a connection with that brand.

The AFL could reinforce healthy lifestyle choices by shifting the focus away from the visual presence of unhealthy sponsorship, while taking steps to ensure that clubs remain commercially viable.

Policy makers are encouraged to consider innovative health promotion strategies and work
with sporting clubs and codes to ensure healthy messages are prominent

 

The study noted that children are often the targets of AFL advertising. This is despite World Health Organization recommendations that children’s settings should be free of unhealthy food promotions and branding (including through sport) due to the known risk it poses to their diet and chances of developing obesity.

PHAA CEO Terry Slevin commented, “When Australian kids see their sports heroes wearing a uniform plastered with certain brands, they inevitably start to associate these brands with the player they look up to and with the positive and healthy experience of the sport.”

He added, “The AFL is in a unique position to positively influence the health of Australian kids through banning sponsorship by alcohol, junk food and gambling companies. It could instead reinforce the importance of a healthy lifestyle for them.”

“Australian health policy makers need to consider innovative health promotion strategies and work together with sport clubs and codes to ensure that unhealthy advertising is not a feature. We successfully removed tobacco advertising from sport and we can do it with junk food and gambling too,” Mr Slevin said.

The recently released Sport 2030 plan rightly identifies sport as a positive vehicle to promote good health. But elite “corporate sport” plays a role of bypassing restrictions aimed at reducing exposure of children to unhealthy product marketing.

“The evidence is clear – it’s time for Australia to phase out all unhealthy sponsorship of sport,” Mr Slevin conclude

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Pharmacy News : #ACCHO Pharmacy skills will help #closethegap in #heart disease

ACCHOs have a strong history in doing this effectively and appropriately for their communities,

Specifically, ACCHO-embedded non-dispensing pharmacists and community pharmacies have a role in identifying risk factors and encouraging heart health checks within the ACCHO communities.’

Deputy NACCHO CEO Dr Dawn Casey

With new research showing current cardiovascular disease screening guidelines are missing younger at-risk Aboriginal people, a leading Aboriginal health specialist has highlighted the role pharmacists can play in preventative cardiac care.

The statement Dr Dawn Casey comes following research finding up to half of older Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and that significant numbers of those in their 20s were also at risk.¹

Continued below

Read over 50 NACCHO Aboriginal Heart Health articles published over past 6 years

Read 8 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Pharmacy articles

Featured article 

 Read above report HERE : NACCHO Aboriginal Heart Health

From Australian Pharmacist 

Australian National University researchers found 1.1% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 18-24 year olds and 4.7% of 25-34 year olds were at high absolute primary risk of CVD. This is around the same as the proportion of non-Indigenous Australians aged 45-54 who are at high risk.¹

The study of 2820 people from a 2012-13 health survey² revealed many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not aware of their risk and most not receiving currently recommended therapy to lower their cholesterol, and are hospitalised for coronary heart disease at a rate up to eight times higher than that of other Australians.¹

Australia’s national guidelines recommend all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 35-74 have a heart check. But this new research found the high-risk category starts much earlier than this, and indicates the affected group needs to start receiving CVD checks earlier in life, the study authors said.

Dr Casey echoed the positive results of the study, allowing the entire ACCHS sector to better deliver preventative and holistic care.

‘ACCHOs have a strong history in doing this effectively and appropriately for their communities,’ she told Australian Pharmacist.

‘Specifically, ACCHO-embedded non-dispensing pharmacists and community pharmacies have a role in identifying risk factors and encouraging heart health checks within the ACCHO communities.’

‘Embedded ACCHO pharmacists can use their skills and knowledge work with a range of clinicians in the ACCHO to conduct holistic risk screening and overall management strategy.

NACCHO is currently actively advocating for enhanced integration of pharmacists into ACCHOs models of care.’

NACCHO and PSA are currently working as part of a broader team on two projects to enhance the broader roles that pharmacists’ skills and training can deliver – Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improve Chronic Disease Management (IPAC) and Indigenous Medication Review Service (IMeRSe).

‘Pharmacists have a broad range of clinical skills and are often very suitable additions to multidisciplinary clinical teams, especially where chronic disease is prevalent and many medicines required,’ Dr Casey said.

‘Community pharmacists may identify risks within normal client care, for example through a pharmacy-based MedsCheck or an HMR. Where team-based care is working effectively, pharmacies and ACCHOs will liaise and work together to ensure care is optimised across these settings.

‘Pharmacists’ understanding of medicines also involves understanding how medical conditions and risk factors for these conditions apply. Unfortunately there is still sometimes a misconception across Australia that pharmacists really just supply medicines and manage retail businesses. Enhancing professional and clinical services is a key trend across the whole pharmacy sector and NACCHO is an active participant in these developments.’

PSA and NACCHO have collaboratively produced guidelines to support pharmacists caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people available at:

http://www.psa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/guide-to-providing-pharmacy-services-to-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people-2014.pdf

References

1 Calabria B, Korda RJ, Lovett RW, Fernando P, Martin T, Malamoo L, Welsh J, Banks, E. Absolute cardiovascular disease risk and lipid-lowering therapy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Med J Aust 2018; 209 (1): 35-41. DOI: 10.5694/mja17.00897

NACCHO Aboriginal Heart Health : Download @AIHW Report on #cardiac care for Indigenous people. Mortality falling but still “much higher” than non-Indigenous pop. Investment needed to #ClosetheGap #ACCHOs @Aus_Lighthouse @END_RHD @HeartAust

 ” Heart-related conditions, such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, and rheumatic heart disease (RHD), contribute substantially to poor health and reduced life expectancy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Cardiac conditions are more common among Indigenous than non-Indigenous Australians, and there are many interconnected reasons for this, including higher rates of risk factors for cardiac conditions (such as smoking, low levels of physical activity, overweight or obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure), and poorer access to preventative health services “

AIHW Report Released July 6

aihw-Cardiac Report

Read Previous NACCHO Aboriginal Heart Health : @HeartAust #NickysMessage “Heart disease is the number one killer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. “

Read also over 50 Aboriginal Health and Heart Articles published over 6 Years

Better Cardiac Care project and selected extracts

The Better Cardiac Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People project is an initiative that was developed at the Better Cardiac Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Forum, held in March 2014 (BCCF 2014).

Representatives from various Indigenous and other organisations, as well as Australian Government and jurisdictional health departments attended the forum.

The project aims to reduce mortality and morbidity from cardiac conditions among Indigenous Australians, by increasing access to services, better managing risk factors and treatment, and improving coordination of care.

The forum established 5 priority areas of interventions that health services should undertake to improve cardiac care for Indigenous Australians, which:

  • are aligned with national and international best-practice guidelines for cardiac care and chronic disease
  • were informed by the Essential Service Standards for Equitable National Cardiovascular Care
  • focus on providing sustainable models of care built around partnerships between all health service providers.

SEE AIHW WEBSITE

The 5 priority areas are:

  • primary preventive care—early cardiovascular risk assessment and management
  • clinical suspicion of disease—timely diagnosis of heart disease and heart failure
  • acute episode—guideline-based therapy for acute coronary syndrome
  • ongoing care—optimisation of health status and provision of ongoing preventive care
  • rheumatic heart disease—strengthening the diagnosis, notification, and follow-up of RHD.

A set of 21 Better Cardiac Care measures (Table 1.1) were also developed to track the implementation and monitoring of the priority areas and associated actions

2 Results

Priority area 1: Early cardiovascular risk assessment and management

Priority area 1 of the Better Cardiac Care project is early cardiovascular risk assessment and management. This is based on the premise that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with no known cardiac disease should receive:

  • an annual cardiovascular risk assessment
  • appropriate management and follow-up for identified cardiac disease risk factors
  • lifestyle modification advice appropriate to their cardiovascular risk level, as per current guidelines (NACCHO & RACGP 2012).

Primary prevention in the form of early and consistent risk factor identification and management will improve long-term outcomes for Indigenous Australians, reduce the population burden of chronic cardiac disease, and improve the appropriate delivery of care by the health-care system (BCCF 2014).

Three measures were agreed upon within this priority area, and updated data are available for measure 1.1 on health assessments.

The data for measure 1.2 are expected to become available for the next report, which will be provided based on the AIHW data collection on the national key performance indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care.

Measure 1.1: Annual health assessments

This measure reports on the number and proportion of Indigenous Australians who had a Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) health assessment in the previous 12 months (Table B.2 in Appendix B contains the list of relevant MBS item numbers included in the measure).

Why is it important?

Health assessments aim to increase preventative health opportunities, detect chronic disease risk factors, manage existing chronic disease, and reduce inequities in access to primary care for Indigenous Australians. Early detection and management of risk factors for cardiac disease (such as smoking, physical inactivity, high blood pressure) can reduce the incidence of cardiac disease and lessen its severity.

All Indigenous Australians are eligible for an annual health assessment, which is listed as item 715 on the MBS.This comprehensive health asessement covers a wide variety of risk factors related to cardiac disease and other chronic diseases, including medical history, nutrition, physical activity, smoking and alcohol intake, living conditions, and body mass index, although it is not a specific cardiovascular risk assessment. People within specified target groups may also be eligible for other types of MBS health assessments (Department of Health 2014), which are referred to as ‘general’ health assessments in this report.

Results

Overall:

  • In 2015–16, more than one-quarter of Indigenous Australians (27%, or an estimated 199,400 people) received a health assessment—about 26% received an MBS item 715 health assessment, and about 1% received a general health assessment (Figure 1.1a).

Time trend:

  • Between 2004–05 and 2015–16, the age-standardised proportion of Indigenous Australians who had an MBS health assessment rose from 2% to 27% for females, and from 2% to 24% for males (Figure 1.1b).
  • From 2014–15 to 2015–16, the overall proportion rose by 3 percentage points.
  • A marked increase occurred from 2010–11, coinciding with the introduction of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package.

Sex and age:

In 2015–16:

  • more Indigenous females than males had an MBS health assessment (Figure 1.1b)
  • about one-quarter (25%) of Indigenous children aged under 15 had an MBS health assessment. Among Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over, the proportion rose from 21% among those aged 15–24 to 38% among those aged 65 and over (Figure 1.1c).

State/territory and remoteness area:

In 2015–16, the proportion of Indigenous Australians who had an MBS health assessment was:

  • highest in Queensland (33%), and lowest in Tasmania (9%) (Figure 1.1d)
  • highest in Inner/Outer regional areas combined (29%), and lowest in Major cities (21%)

Priority area 2: Timely diagnosis of heart disease and heart failure

Priority area 2 of the Better Cardiac Care project is timely diagnosis of heart disease and heart failure.

This is based on the premise that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suspected of having heart disease or heart failure should receive appropriate initial diagnostic services (such as stress testing or coronary angiography for ischaemic heart disease, or echocardiography for heart failure and rheumatic heart disease) as close to the patient’s home as possible, within acceptable timeframes according to the level of risk and the patient’s condition (BCCF 2014).

Of the 3 measures recommended for this priority area, data are available for:

  • measure 2.1 for Medicare-listed diagnostic items
  • measure 2.3 for cardiologist review of suspected/confirmed cardiac disease

Measure 2.1: Cardiac-related diagnosis

This measure reports on the number and proportion of Indigenous Australians who had 1 or more relevant cardiac-related MBS diagnostic item claims in the previous 12 months, compared with non-Indigenous Australians (Table B.2 in Appendix B contains the list of relevant MBS item numbers included in the measure).The current report includes additional MBS items within measure 2.1, compared with the second national report (AIHW 2016); as such the results are not comparable. Additional MBS items were used to more accurately capture the status of cardiac-related diagnoses, and were obtained from the Cardiac Services Clinical Committee of the Medical Benefit Schedule Review Taskforce (Department of Health 2017).

Why is it important?

People suspected of having cardiac disease should receive appropriate and timely diagnostic services. Categories of diagnostic tests captured by this measure include:

  • diagnostic procedures and investigations—19 items that include various kinds of electrocardiography, and pacemaker and defibrillator testing
  • diagnostic imaging services—25 items that include various kinds of echocardiography, computed tomography scans and angiography (Department of Health 2018).

Results

Overall:

In 2015–16:

  • 64,909 MBS claims for cardiac-related diagnostic items were made for Indigenous patients (age-standardised proportion of 13.2%), compared with 3,178,327 claims for non-Indigenous patients (proportion of 12.1%).
  • 45,932 claims for diagnostic procedures and investigations (age-standardised proportion of 9.3%), and 18,977 claims for diagnostic imaging services (age-standardised proportion of 3.9%) were made for Indigenous patients—both proportions were slightly higher than for non-Indigenous Australians (Figure 2.1a).

Time trend:

  • Between 2004–05 and 2015–16, the age-standardised proportion of Indigenous Australians who had cardiac-related diagnostic items MBS claims rose from 6.8% to 10.4%, with a similar pattern for non-Indigenous Australians (rising from 6.9% to 9.1%) (Figure 2.1b).

Sex and age:

In 2015–16, the proportion of Indigenous Australians who had MBS claims for cardiac-related diagnostic items:

  • rose with increasing age, with the lowest proportion among those aged under 25. It was slightly higher than that of non-Indigenous Australians in all age groups, except for those aged 65 and over, where proportions were higher among non-Indigenous Australians (Figure 2.1c)
  • was lower overall than that of non-Indigenous Australians, for men and women, with Indigenous women having slightly higher proportions than Indigenous men (Figure 2.1d).

Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2017 11

State/territory and remoteness area:

In 2015–16, the proportions of MBS claims for cardiac-related diagnostic items:

  • ranged from 3% to 13% across states and territories, and from 7% to 8% across remoteness areas among Indigenous Australians (figures 2.1e and 2.1f)
  • were lower among Indigenous Australians living in Major cities and Inner/Outer regional areas combined than their non-Indigenous counterparts (Figure 2.1f).

Priority area 4: Optimisation of health status and provision of ongoing preventive care

Priority area 4 is optimisation of health status and provision of ongoing preventive care. This is based on the premise that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cardiac conditions should receive ongoing multidisciplinary primary health care and specialist physician follow-up as required, to prevent further illness, and to optimise health status (BCCF 2014).

Of the 4 measures recommended for this priority area, MBS data are available for:

  • measure 4.2 for follow-up after receiving a cardiovascular therapeutic procedure
  • measure 4.3 for specialist physician review after a cardiovascular therapeutic procedure

Priority area 5: Strengthening the diagnosis, notification and follow-up of rheumatic heart disease

Priority area 5 of the Better Cardiac Care project is strengthening the diagnosis, notification and follow-up of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) (BCCF 2014). This is based on the premise that:

  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suspected to have acute rheumatic fever (ARF) or RHD should receive an echocardiogram as early as possible
  • new cases should be automatically reported to a central register to help track patients, and ensure ongoing care.

There is no diagnostic pathology test for ARF; instead, its diagnosis is based on a clinical decision (RHD Australia et al. 2012). The clinical manifestation of ARF is non-specific and can be atypical, with delays in both presentation and referral of patients. As a result, ARF can often go undetected in the acute stage, leading to ongoing complications and lifelong morbidity.

Of the 4 measures recommended for this priority area, data are available from RHD registers in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory for:

  • measure 5.1 for the annual incidence of ARF and RHD
  • measure 5.2 for recurrent ARF
  • measure 5.3 for treatment with benzathine penicillin G doses
  • measure 5.4 for echocardiograms among patients with severe or moderate RHD.

NACCHO Aboriginal Heart Health : @ourANU @Mayi_Kuwayu Report high levels of risk of heart disease and #stroke for young and old #Indigenous Australians can be prevented : Plus @strokefdn Response

Recognising the risk will help save and improve lives and contribute to Closing the Gap in life expectancy.

Heart checks may need to start earlier in order to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but the good news is most heart attacks and strokes can be prevented.

Critical to this is knowing who is at risk and encouraging lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking, and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The study also found that many people at high risk of heart attacks or strokes are not aware of it and most are not receiving currently recommended therapy to lower their cholesterol.”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt releasing the study

Ken Wyatt Heart study press release

 ” Programs aimed at prevention should also be co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, taking into account social and cultural barriers that impact access and ongoing treatment.

The good news is, we know heart attacks and strokes can be prevented and we have effective treatments to achieve this. Within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities there is huge potential to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

Many people don’t receive a heart check and could be at high risk without knowing it. Prevention starts with getting a heart check and continuing to use any medications prescribed to you by your doctor to lower your risk ‘

Download the Report here Heart Stroke Report

OR Read online HERE

ANU researchers have met with Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt, Aboriginal woman and heart health researcher Vicki Wade and to launch new study on First Nations people heart health.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke and 1.4 times as likely to die from stroke than non-indigenous Australians. 

Stroke can be prevented, it can be treated and it can be beaten. We must act now to stem the tide of this devastating disease

Steps must be taken immediately to increase stroke awareness and access to health checks through targeted action. Federal and state government must come together to address this issue.”

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the research results were frightening. See Full Press Release Part 2 below

” Australian’s national guidelines currently say heart health screening should begin at age 35 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

However, new research has found there’s a high risk of Indigenous people under 35 developing cardiovascular disease.

The study also shows Indigenous people have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease in older age.

Researchers say this information will be important to help identify risks earlier, and prevent disease from developing ”

Dr Norman Swan radio interview LISTEN HERE

Professor Emily Banks

Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra

Associate Professor Ray Lovett

Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra

Most heart attacks and strokes can be prevented with appropriate treatment. Yet heart disease, including heart attacks, causes 13% of deaths among Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is a major contributor to the gap in life expectancy with non-Indigenous Australians.

New findings from a study published today in the Medical Journal of Australia show vast room for improvement in heart health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Who is at risk?

This new research found 10% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 35-74 years old have heart disease (compared to 9% aged 45-74 in the general population). Another 16% are at high risk of getting heart disease (compared to 11% aged 45-74 in the general population), defined in Australia as a greater than 15% chance of getting heart disease in the next five years.

A heart check involves calculating how likely a person is to develop heart disease over a specific time period (five years in Australia). This involves gathering information from multiple factors including a person’s age, sex, smoking status, whether they have diabetes and their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Australia’s national guidelines recommend all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 35-74 have a heart check. But this new research found the “high risk” category starts much earlier than this.

Around 1.1% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 18-24 year olds and 4.7% of 25-34 year olds were at high risk of heart disease. This is around the same as the proportion of non-Indigenous Australians aged 45-54 who are at high risk.

Too few Indigenous peoples are having heart checks. from http://www.shutterstock.com

Potential to prevent events through medication

Heart disease risk can be lowered through lifestyle changes, including giving up smoking, losing weight and exercising more, as well as using medications that lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Generally, all people who have heart disease and those at high risk should be prescribed preventative medications.

Yet this latest evidence shows only 53% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with existing heart disease and 42% of those at high risk were using cholesterol-lowering medications. We don’t know the exact reasons for this. It could be due to a number of things including people not getting a heart check in the first place, and not continuing to use medications when they have been prescribed.

We don’t know the exact number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receiving a heart check, but we do know overall numbers are low and it varies by region. Estimates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with diabetes found rates of heart checks ranged from about 3% of people in participating health centres in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to around 56% in the Northern Territory.

This highlights the huge potential to prevent future heart attack and stroke in these communities by improving treatment in people at high risk.

What can we do?

These findings highlight multiple actions that can be taken to improve heart disease prevention. First, this new evidence suggests the age to start doing heart checks should be lowered in Australian guidelines. This decision would need to be jointly undertaken with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

GPs and nurses should be proactive in identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, providing heart and overall health checks, and following up with patients.

The Northern Territory is a good example. There, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples receiving a heart check more than doubled after improvements in reporting, monitoring and follow-up. Improving the rate of health checks for adolescents and young adults is particularly important so discussions and treatment decisions can take place early.

Programs aimed at prevention should also be co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, taking into account social and cultural barriers that impact access and ongoing treatment.

The good news is, we know heart attacks and strokes can be prevented and we have effective treatments to achieve this. Within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities there is huge potential to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

Many people don’t receive a heart check and could be at high risk without knowing it. Prevention starts with getting a heart check and continuing to use any medications prescribed to you by your doctor to lower your risk.

Part 2 Stroke Foundation  Press Release

 

Stroke Foundation has backed a call for urgent action to prevent stroke in Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

This follows today’s release of a world-first study by the Australian National University (ANU), highlighting the harrowing reality of stroke and heart attack risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The research found around one-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s were at high risk of future heart attack or stroke. It also found risk increased substantially with age and starts earlier than previously thought.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the research results were frightening.

“We knew the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community had a greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, but the rate was well above the non-indigenous population,” Ms McGowan said.

“Alarmingly, the study also found high levels of risk were occurring in people younger than 35.

“Steps must be taken immediately to increase stroke awareness and access to health checks through targeted action. Federal and state government must come together to address this issue.”

National guidelines currently recommend heart health and stroke risk screening be provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 35 and over. This study highlights the need for screening in much younger people.

Ms McGowan said there was one stroke every nine minutes in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were overrepresented in stroke statistics.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke and 1.4 times as likely to die from stroke than non-indigenous Australians.

“Stroke can be prevented, it can be treated and it can be beaten. We must act now to stem the tide of this devastating disease,’’ she said.

“Federal and State Government must do more to empower our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to take control of their health and prevent stroke and heart disease – we must deliver targeted education on what stroke is, how to prevent it and the importance of accessing treatment at the first sign of stroke.”

Ms McGowan said stroke could be prevented by managing your blood pressure and cholesterol, eating healthily, exercising, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Chronic Disease : #NCDForum @Prevention1stAU Report : Government is ignoring our chronic disease time bomb

  ” One in every two Australians suffer from chronic disease but experts say Commonwealth and State Governments appear blind to the country’s greatest health challenge.

The latest assessment of the country’s chronic disease prevention policy has found that while our health measures in tobacco policy are world leading, Australia has fallen well short in its preventive health efforts in the key areas of alcohol consumption, nutrition, and physical activity.”

A scorecard released today by Prevention 1st found that while government anti-smoking policies are ‘good’, efforts to address alcohol consumption, physical activity and nutrition all rate poorly.

Download report HERE

Prevention-in-Australia-online

Prevention 1st invited experts in tobacco, alcohol, nutrition and physical activity to rate Commonwealth and state government action against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘Best Buys’ and Other Recommended Interventions for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.i

Chronic disease, which is responsible for 83 per cent of all premature deaths in Australia, accounts for 66 per cent of the burden of disease, and costs our economy an estimated $27 billion annually.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one-third of chronic disease cases are preventable and can be traced to four modifiable risk factors: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and physical inactivity.

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says that while Australia has been a world leader in preventive health, past glories count for little, when the Prevention 1st Scorecard released today makes clear that our governments are not presently doing enough.

Mr Thorn says a framework already exists around evidence-based, short-term wins and that those World Health Organization recommendations, if implemented, would immediately improve Australians’ health.

“Effective policies are essential and we have those, but those solutions become worthless if government is not prepared to translate those policies into action,” Mr Thorn said

The Prevention 1st Scorecard recommends the implementation of four simple evidence-based measures to address tobacco use, alcohol consumption, nutrition and physical activity.

• The renewal of mass media anti-smoking campaigns that are population-wide and engage effectively with disadvantaged groups.

• The abolition of the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) and introduction of a volumetric tax for wine and cider.

• Legislated time-based restrictions on exposure of children (under 16 years of age) to unhealthy food and drink marketing on free-to-air television until 9.30pm.

• The implementation of a whole-of-school program that includes mandatory daily physical activity.

Prevention 1st is a campaign led by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF Australia), and Dementia Australia.

ENDS

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #NRW2018 News Alerts : 1. @RACGP The importance of culturally appropriate healthcare spaces 2. @AusHealthcare @Aus_Lighthouse Recognising the historic experience of #Indigenous patients is key to reconciliation

Patients have the right to respectful care that promotes their dignity, privacy and safety.

Equipped with greater cultural awareness and the ability to ensure cultural safety, GPs will provide better quality and more appropriate care to all of their patients.
 
It will also ensure they are well-rounded and more effective doctors.’

Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, believes GPs can make important contributions towards creating a safe and culturally welcoming environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A/Prof Peter O’Mara, NACCHO Chair John Singer Minister Ken Wyatt & RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel launch the National guide at Parliament house 28 March

He views National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) as an opportunity to improve the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

To mark National Reconciliation Week, Morgan Liotta from newsGP looks at the importance of cultural safety in general practice and highlights some useful resources for GPs and practice teams.

See Full RACGP Press Release Part 2 Below

The inequitable situation whereby Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are 30% less likely to receive appropriate care after a heart attack demands action.

 Working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and health organisations is the most effective tool for building cultural safety in our public hospitals, reducing discharge against medical advice and improving care pathways after discharge.

Understanding the true history of Australia allows non-Indigenous clinicians and health administrators to be aware of the background to our current situation, learn about their stereotypes, reflect on practices and build trust with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.’

Dr Chris Bourke, a Gamillaroi man and Director of Strategic Programs at the AHHA, said the five dimensions of reconciliation—race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance—directly relate to the Lighthouse goal of achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients who go to hospital after a heart attack.

Hospitals are developing stronger links with ACCHO’s / Aboriginal Medical Services; this means discharges are better planned, so patients are more likely to access follow up appointments, take ongoing medication and use cardiac rehabilitation services.

See Full Press Release Part 2 Below

Part 1 The RACGP The importance of culturally appropriate healthcare spaces

Given GPs are considered the first point of contact for most Australians when accessing healthcare, a culturally responsive general practice environment can play a significant part in improving that access, and can be crucial to closing the gap in health outcomes.

Ada Parry is a community representative on the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Board. She agrees that cultural awareness benefits all aspects of a healthcare relationship – from a patient’s greeting as they enter a practice to fostering an ongoing connection throughout the care.

‘A really simple step is to have a friendly face at reception. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people go to mainstream health services and want to be treated like everyone else,’ Ms Parry told newsGP.

 

‘It is important to understand that some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients may have a different culture or cultural practices to non-Indigenous Australians.

‘If [healthcare professionals] don’t show that they care about those differences, this can really affect their patients.’

Ms Parry strongly believes that taking the time to get to know patients, to hear their story and help them understand their illness and treatments can make a big difference.

‘People need to get past stereotypes and stop making assumptions,’ she said.

‘The approaches that work for most of your patients may not always work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

‘Treat patients the way you would like to be treated.’

Associate Professor O’Mara agrees, emphasising that the strength of culturally responsive care is not only for patients.

‘The role healthcare professionals, organisations, medical colleges and governments have in providing safe and appropriate spaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients could not only benefit the patients, but also the healthcare providers themselves,’ he said.

NACCHO & will be running free half day workshops to support practice teams to maximise the opportunity for prevention of disease for Indigenous clients . For busy GPs, members , practice nurses or ACCHO practice managers

Details HERE

GP resources

The RACGP has a number of educational resources and standards that help to support the cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

Part 2 AHHA Recognising the historic experience of Indigenous patients is key to reconciliation

Understanding the history behind why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients are five times more likely to leave hospital against medical advice is key to achieving reconciliation in the hospital system, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and the Heart Foundation said this week.

National Reconciliation Week is this week, and the theme ‘Don’t Keep History a Mystery’ highlights the importance of all Australians exploring our past, learning more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, and developing a deeper understanding of our national story.

Reitai Minogue, national manager for the Lighthouse Hospital Project, said, ‘Closing the heart health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians requires understanding why many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients have a distrust of hospitals.

‘Historic experiences such as racism, miscommunication and mistreatment have influenced the level of distrust, which is reflected in the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients are five times more likely to leave hospital against medical advice.’

The Lighthouse Hospital Project, a federally funded joint program by the AHHA and the Heart Foundation, is working with 18 hospitals around the nation to transform the experience of healthcare for Indigenous patients by trying to make their environments more culturally safe.

Examples of positive changes include improving the hospital environment with local artwork, bush gardens and cultural spaces for family, and expanding and better supporting the Aboriginal workforce. Hospitals are developing stronger links with Aboriginal Medical Services; this means discharges are better planned, so patients are more likely to access follow up appointments, take ongoing medication and use cardiac rehabilitation services.

About the Lighthouse Hospitals Project

The Lighthouse Hospitals Project is a joint initiative of AHHA and the Heart Foundation. The $10 million third phase of the Lighthouse Hospitals Project is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program.

NSW: Coffs Harbour Health Campus, John Hunter Hospital, Liverpool Hospital, Orange Health Service and Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital.

NT: Royal Darwin Hospital.

Qld: Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, Mount Isa Base Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Prince Charles Hospital and Townsville Hospital and Health Service.

SA: Flinders Medical Centre. Vic: Bairnsdale Regional Health Service.

WA: Broome Regional Health Campus, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Kalgoorlie Health Campus, Royal Perth Hospital and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

 

Aboriginal Health #RHD #WHA71 #RHDACTION #IndigenousWFPHA @END_RHD : Australia a key contributor to global commitment to end deadly #rheumaticheartdisease in Australia @TheAHCWA @ama_media @AMSANTaus @HeartAust @MenziesResearch @NACCHOAustralia @telethonkids

The World Health Organisation resolution for global action to tackle rheumatic heart disease (RHD) will have significant implications for Australia, which has some of the highest rates of the disease in the world

This disease disproportionately affects some of the most vulnerable communities around the world, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia.

It’s the most common acquired cardiovascular disease in children and young adults in low resource settings.

More than any other condition, RHD is emblematic of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians”

Institute Director Professor Jonathan Carapetis said the resolution, passed late Friday May 25 , will give RHD the attention required to eliminate what is mostly a preventable disease

Telethon Kids Institute is a founding partner of END RHD, a national alliance against the disease and home to the END RHD Centre of Research Excellence.

Rheumatic fever is caused by an abnormal immune reaction to Strep A infection of the skin and throat and, when left untreated, can lead to rheumatic heart disease – in turn causing disability and premature death. It affects 30 million people worldwide.

The resolution was passed at the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, attended by delegates from 194 WHO Member States. The commitment aims to consolidate efforts worldwide towards the prevention, control and elimination of RHD.


“This resolution puts RHD front and centre on the global agenda, meaning governments will be compelled to act,” Professor Carapetis said.


“Countries with a high burden of the disease will be required to prioritise the implementation of strategies aimed at prevention and treatment, with countries with a low burden providing support and funding.”

Watch sharing a heart beat

This film will give health messages and information for women with severe rheumatic heart disease. A film about Aboriginal women and the relationship between culture and health and how this influences care

Professor Carapetis said the passing of the resolution on the global stage reflected growing momentum to end RHD in Australia, and followed a February roundtable convened by Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt with END RHD representatives, that resulted in a commitment to develop a roadmap to end the disease in Australia.

See Previous NACCHO RHD posts

NACCHO Aboriginal Heart @RHDAustralia Health :

In 11 languages health messages speak to patients

Professor Carapetis applauded the Australian Government for playing a leading role in drafting the resolution.

“We look forward to working closely with all relevant ministers and departments on the implementation of a comprehensive, research-backed strategy to end the disease in Australia.

“With more than 30 years of research behind us, combined with Indigenous leadership and growing political will at home and internationally, we’ve never been in a stronger position to make ending RHD a reality in Australia.”


About END RHD

END RHD is an alliance of health, research and community organisations seeking to amplify efforts to end RHD in Australia through advocacy and engagement.  The founding partners are the Australian Medical Association (AMA), National Heart Foundation of AustraliaAboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA), National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Menzies School of Health ResearchAboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), and the Telethon Kids Institute (home of the END RHD Centre for Research Excellence).

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldHypertensionDay @strokefdn High #bloodpressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer of our mob with 47% having high #stroke risk

 

 ” But high blood pressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer of our mob because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realise they have it. “

A staggering 82 percent of those, found to have high blood pressure, were not aware prior to taking the health check and were referred to their doctor for a further assessment.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are between two and three times as likely to have a stroke than non-Indigenous Australians which is why increasing stroke awareness is crucial.

Too many Australians couldn’t spot a stroke if it was happening right in front of them.

We know that in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities this awareness is even lower.

We want all Australians, regardless of where they live or what community they’re from, to learn the signs of stroke.”

Stroke Foundation and Apunipima ACCHO Cape York Project

 ” Naomi and Rukmani’s stroke rap runs through vital stroke awareness messages, such as lifestyle advice, learning the signs of stroke, and crucially the need to seek medical advice when stroke strikes.

Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song and remember the FAST message – it could save their life,”

Stroke Foundation Queensland Executive Officer Libby Dunstan 

Naomi Wenitong  pictured with her father Dr Mark Wenitong Public Health Officer at  Apunipima Cape York Health Council  in Cairns:

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media

Listen to the new rap song HERE

                                       or Hear

Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated

NACCHO has published over 90 articles Aboriginal health stroke prevention and recovery READ HERE

“It can happen to anyone — stroke doesn’t discriminate against colour, it doesn’t discriminate against age “

Photo above Seith Fourmile, Indigenous stroke survivor campaigns for culture to aid in stroke recovery

” Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who experience and die from cardiovascular disease at much higher rates than other Australians.

What you don’t know can hurt you. Heart disease and strokes are the biggest killers of Australians, and the biggest risk factor for both of them is high blood pressure.

But high blood pressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realise they have it. “

John Kelly CEO-National, Heart Foundation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, when compared with other Australians, are:

  • 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease
  • three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack
  • more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease
  • 19 times as likely to die from acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart Disease
  • more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, be obese, have diabetes and have end-stage renal disease.

It was World Hypertension Day yesterday  and the Stroke Foundation is determined to slash stroke numbers in Australia – with your help.

Today kicks off Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check for 2018 and communities are being urged to take five minutes out of their day for a potentially life-saving blood pressure check.

More than 4.1 Million Australians are living with hypertension or high blood pressure, putting themselves at serious and unnecessary risk of stroke.

Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.

The major concern with high blood pressure is many people don’t realise they have it. It has no immediate symptoms, but over time, it damages blood vessels and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.

How you can help?

  • Encourage your family and friends to take advantage of a free check.
  • Help spread the word via social media:  Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.
  • Get your free health check today! https://bit.ly/2ps1UOn #WorldHypertensionDay

  • I am urging you – no matter what age you are – to have a blood pressure check regularly with your ACCHO GP (General Practitioner), pharmacist or via a digital health check machine.
  • Stroke strikes in an instant, attacking the brain. It kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer and leaves thousands with an ongoing disability, but stroke is largely preventable by managing blood pressure and living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Stroke Foundation and SiSU Wellness conducted more than 520,000 digital health checks throughout 2017, finding 16 percent of participants had high blood pressure putting them at risk of stroke

Given there will be 56,000 strokes in Australia this year alone, if we can reduce high blood pressure we will have a direct and lasting impact on the rate of stroke in this country.Yours sincerely,

Sharon McGowan
Chief Executive Officer
Stroke Foundation

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Sugartax : @4Corners #Tippingthescales: #4corners Sugar, politics and what’s making us fat #rethinksugarydrinks @janemartinopc @OPCAustralia

On Monday night Four Corners investigates the power of Big Sugar and its influence on public policy.

“How did the entire world get this fat, this fast? Did everyone just become a bunch of gluttons and sloths?”  Doctor

The figures are startling. Today, 60% of Australian adults are classified as overweight or obese. By 2025 that figure is expected to rise to 80%.

“It’s the stuff of despair. Personally, when I see some of these young people, it’s almost hard to imagine that we’ve got to this point.”  Surgeon

Many point the finger at sugar – which we’re consuming in enormous amounts – and the food and drink industry that makes and sells the products fuelled by it.

Tipping the scales, reported by Michael Brissenden and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 30th of April at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 1st of May at 1.00pm and Wednesday 2nd at 11.20pm.

It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

See Preview Video here

 ” In 2012-13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2 years and over consumed an average of 75 grams of free sugars per day (equivalent to 18 teaspoons of white sugar)1. Added sugars made up the majority of free sugar intakes with an average of 68 grams (or 16 teaspoons) consumed and an additional 7 grams of free sugars came from honey and fruit juice. “

NACCHO post – ABS Report abs-indigenous-consumption-of-added-sugars 

Amata was an alcohol-free community, but some years earlier its population of just under 400 people had been consuming 40,000 litres of soft drink annually.

The thing that I say in community meetings all the time is that, the reason we’re doing this is so that the young children now do not end up going down the same track of diabetes, kidney failure, dialysis machines and early death, which is the track that many, many people out here are on now,”

NACCHO Post : Mai Wiru, meaning good health, and managed by long-time community consultant John Tregenza.

See Previous NACCHO Post Aboriginal Health and Sugar TV Doco: APY community and the Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation

4 Corners Press Release

“This isn’t about, as the food industry put it, people making their own choices and therefore determining what their weight will be. It is not as simple as that, and the science is very clear.” Surgeon

Despite doctors’ calls for urgent action, there’s been fierce resistance by the industry to measures aimed at changing what we eat and drink, like the proposed introduction of a sugar tax.

“We know about the health impact, but there’s something that’s restricting us, and it’s industry.”  Public health advocate

On Monday night Four Corners investigates the power of Big Sugar and its influence on public policy.

“The reality is that industry is, by and large, making most of the policy. Public health is brought in, so that we can have the least worse solution.”  Public health advocate

From its role in shutting down debate about a possible sugar tax to its involvement in the controversial health star rating system, the industry has been remarkably successful in getting its way.

“We are encouraged by the government here in Australia, and indeed the opposition here in Australia, who continue to look to the evidence base and continue to reject this type of tax as some sort of silver bullet or whatnot to solve what is a really complex problem, and that is our nation’s collective expanding waistline.” Industry spokesperson

We reveal the tactics employed by the industry and the access it enjoys at a time when health professionals say we are in a national obesity crisis.

“We cannot leave it up to the food industry to solve this. They have an imperative to make a profit for their shareholders. They don’t have an imperative to create a healthy, active Australia.”  Health advocate

NACCHO post – Sixty-three per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of our children are overweight or obese.

 “This is not surprising when you look at our environment – our kids are bombarded with advertising for junk food, high-sugar drinks are cheaper than water, and sugar and saturated fat are hiding in so-called ‘healthy’ foods. Making a healthy choice has never been more difficult.

The annual cost of overweight and obesity in Australia in 2011-12 was estimated to be $8.6 billion in direct and indirect costs such as GP services, hospital care, absenteeism and government subsidies.1 “

 OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin 

BACKGROUND

 ” This campaign is straightforward – sugary drinks are no good for our health. It’s calling on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cape York experience a disproportionate burden of chronic disease compared to other Australians.’

‘Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and some cancers. Consumption of sugary drinks is also associated with poor dental health.

Water is the best drink for everyone – it doesn’t have any sugar and keeps our bodies healthy.’

Apunipima Public Health Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong

Read over 48 NACCHO articles Health and Nutrition HERE

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/nutrition-healthy-foods/

Read over 24 NACCHO articles Sugar Tax HERE  

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/sugar-

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @VACCHO_org @Apunipima join major 2018 health groups campaign @Live Lighter #RethinkSugaryDrink launching ad showing heavy health cost of cheap $1 frozen drinks

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Junkfood #Sugarydrinks #Sugartax @AMAPresident says Advertising and marketing of #junkfood and #sugarydrinks to children should be banned