NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #chronicdisease @SandroDemaio How #obesity ups your chronic disease risk and what to do about it

” Almost two in every three Australian adults are now overweight or obese, as are one in four of our children.

This rising obesity burden is the outcome of a host of factors, many of which are beyond our individual control – and obesity is linked to a number of chronic diseases.”

Dr Sandro Demaio is an Aussie medical doctor and global expert on non-communicable diseases. Co-host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, author of 30 scientific papers and ‘The Doctor’s Diet’ (a cookbook based on science) see Part 2 below 

This article was originally published HERE 

Part 1 NACCHO Policy

” The committee heard that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) run effective programs aimed at preventing and addressing the high prevalence of obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ms Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), gave the example of the Deadly Choices program, which is about organised sports and activities for young people.

She explained that to participate in the program, prospective participants need to have a health check covered by Medicare, which is an opportunity to assess their current state of health and map out a treatment plan if necessary.

However, NACCHO is of the view that ACCHOs need to be better resourced to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity.

Access to healthy and fresh foods in remote Australia

Ms Turner also pointed out that ‘the supply of fresh foods to remote communities and regional communities is a constant problem’.

From NACCHO Submission Read here 

” Many community members in the NT who suffer from chronic illnesses would benefit immensely from using Health Care Homes.

Unfortunately, with limited English, this meant an increased risk of them being inadvertently excluded from the initiative.

First, Italk Alice Springs produced the English version of the story. Then using qualified interpreters, they produced Aboriginal language versions in eight languages: Anmatyerre, Alyawarr, Arrernte, East Side Kriol, West Side Kriol, Pitjatjantjara, Warlpiri and Yolngu Matha

Read Article HERE

Figure 2.22-1 Proportion of persons 15 years and over (age-standardised) by BMI category and Indigenous status, 2012–13
Proportion of persons 15 years and over (age-standardised)

Source: ABS and AIHW analysis of 2012–13 AATSIHS

Read over 60 Aboriginal Health and Obesity articles published by NACCHO over past 7 Years

What is chronic disease?

Chronic disease is a broad term, which includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancers, certain lung conditions, mental illness and genetic disorders. They are often defined by having complex and multiple causes, and are long-term or persistent (‘chronic’ actually means long-term).

How is obesity linked to chronic disease?

Obesity increases the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), sleep disorders, type 2 diabetes and at least 13 types of cancer.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity:

Obesity is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and even being slightly overweight increases this risk. Type 2 diabetes is characterised physiologically by decreased insulin secretion as well as increased insulin resistance due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Left uncontrolled, this can lead to a host of nasty outcomes like blindness, kidney problems, heart disease and even loss of feeling in our hands and feet.

Obstructive sleep apnoea and obesity:

This is another chronic disease often linked to obesity. Sleep apnoea is caused when our large air passage is partially or fully blocked by a combination of factors, including the weight of fat tissue sitting on our neck. It can cause us to jolt awake, gasping for oxygen. It leads to poor sleep, which adds physiological pressure to critical organs.

A woman preparing vegetables for a meal

Cancer and obesity:

This is a disease of altered gene expression. It originates from changes to the cell’s DNA caused by a range of factors, including inherited mutations, inflammation, hormones, and external factors including tobacco use, radiation from the sun, and carcinogenic agents in food. Strong evidence also links obesity to a number of cancers including throat cancer, bowel cancer, cancer of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and kidney cancer.

Obesity is also associated with high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

This might sound overwhelming, but it’s not all bad news. Here are a few things we can all start to do today to reduce our risk of obesity and associated chronic disease:

1. Eat more fruit and veg

Most dietary advice revolves around eating less. But if we can replace an unhealthy diet with an abundance of fresh, whole fruits and vegetables – at least two servings of fruit per day and five servings of vegetables – we can reduce our risk of obesity whilst still embracing our love for good food.

2. Limit our alcohol consumption

Forgo that glass of wine or beer after a long hard day at work and opt instead for something else that helps us relax. Pure alcohol is inherently full of energy – containing twice the energy per gram as sugar. This energy is surplus and non-essential to our nutritional needs, so contributes to our widening waistlines. And whether we’re out for drinks with mates or at a function, we can reduce our consumption by spacing out our drinks and holding off before reaching for another glass.

3. Get moving

While not everyone loves a morning sprint, there are many enjoyable ways to maintain a sufficient level of physical activity. Doing some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes each day is an effective way of keeping our waistlines in check. So, take a break to stretch out the muscles a few times during the workday, spend an afternoon at the local pool, get out into the garden or take some extra time to ride or walk to work. If none of these appeal, do some research to find the right exercise that will be fun and achievable.

Two women exercising in a park together

4. Buddy up

There’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to get us healthy and active. Pick a friend who has the same goals and encourage each other to keep going. Sign up for exercise classes together, meet for a walk, have them over for a healthy meal, share tips and seek out support when feeling uninspired.

5. Prioritise sleep

Some argue that sleep is the healthy icing on the longevity cake. The benefits of a good night’s sleep are endless, with recent research suggesting it can even benefit our decision-making and self-discipline, making it easier to resist that ‘between-meal’ treat. Furthermore, lack of sleep can increase our appetite and see us lose the enthusiasm to stay active.

Above all, we need to foster patience and perseverance when it comes to achieving a healthy weight. It might not happen overnight, but it is within reach.

Let’s start today!

Co-host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, author of 30 scientific papers and ‘The Doctor’s Diet’ (a cookbook based on science), Dr Sandro Demaio is an Aussie medical doctor and global expert on non-communicable diseases.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Obesity : #refreshtheCTGrefresh : Download the Select Committee into the #Obesity Epidemic in Australia 22 recommendations : With feedback from @ACDPAlliance @janemartinopc

The Federal Government must impose a tax on sugary drinks, mandate Health Star Ratings and ban junk food ads on TV until 9 pm if it wants to drive down Australia’s obesity rates, a Senate committee has concluded.

The Select Committee into the Obesity Epidemic, comprising senators from all major parties and chaired by Greens leader Richard Di Natale, has tabled a far-reaching report with 22 recommendations.”

See SMH Article Part 1 below

Download PDF copy of report

Senate Obesity report

Extract from Report Programs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The committee heard that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) run effective programs aimed at preventing and addressing the high prevalence of obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ms Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), gave the example of the Deadly Choices program, which is about organised sports and activities for young people.

She explained that to participate in the program, prospective participants need to have a health check covered by Medicare, which is an opportunity to assess their current state of health and map out a treatment plan if necessary.

However, NACCHO is of the view that ACCHOs need to be better resourced to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity.

Access to healthy and fresh foods in remote Australia

Ms Turner also pointed out that ‘the supply of fresh foods to remote communities and regional communities is a constant problem’.

From NACCHO Submission Read here 

Recommendation 21 see all Recommendations Part 2

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Recommendation 22

The committee recommends the Commonwealth develop additional initiatives and incentives aimed at increasing access, affordability and consumption of fresh foods in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Unhealthy weight is a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Preventing obesity in children is particularly important, as it is difficult to reverse weight gain once established,” 

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said limiting unhealthy food marketing would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and its subsequent consumption.See in full Part 3

“Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but it is not a problem without a solution. Today’s report demonstrates a willingness from representatives across all political parties to investigate the systemic causes of obesity and develop a way forward.”

A key recommendation from the Inquiry’s report is the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks; something the OPC has led calls for, and which has been supported by around 40 public health, community and academic groups in the Tipping the Scales report.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that when two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, the Inquiry’s comprehensive report provides an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem and a blueprint for tackling it .See part 4 Below for full press release

Part 1 SMH Article 

About 63 per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese.

In a move that will likely delight health groups and enrage the food and beverage industries, it has recommended the government slap a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), saying this would reduce sugar consumption, improve public health and push manufacturers to reformulate their products.

“The World Health Organisation has recommended governments tax sugary drinks and, at present, over 30 jurisdictions across the world have introduced a SSB tax as part of their effort and commitment toward preventing and controlling the rise of obesity,” the report said.

While health groups, such as Cancer Council, have demanded a 20 per cent levy, the committee suggested the government find the best fiscal model to achieve a price increase of at least 20 per cent.

“The impacts of sugary drinks are borne most by those on low income and they will also reap the most benefits from measures that change the behaviour of manufacturers,” it said.

About 63 per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

At the heart of the report is the recognition of the need for a National Obesity Taskforce, comprising government, health, industry and community representatives, which would sit within the Department of Health and be responsible for a National Obesity Strategy as well as a National Childhood Obesity Strategy.

“Australia does not have an overarching strategy to combat obesity,” it said.

“Many of the policy areas required to identify the causes, impacts and potential solutions to the obesity problem span every level of government.”

The committee has also urged the government to mandate the Health Star Rating (HSR) system, which is undergoing a five-year review, by 2020.

The voluntary front-of-pack labelling system has come under fire for producing questionable, confusing ratings – such as four stars for Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain – and becoming a “marketing tool”.

“Making it mandatory will drive food companies to reformulate more of their products in order to achieve higher HSR ratings,” the report said.

“The committee also believes that, once the HSR is made mandatory, the HSR calculator could be regularly adjusted to make it harder to achieve a five star rating.”

Pointing to a conflict-of-interest, it has recommended the HSR’s Technical Advisory Group expel members representing the industry.

“Representatives of the food and beverage industry sectors may be consulted for technical advice but [should] no longer sit on the HSR Calculator Technical Advisory Group,” it said.

The government has also been asked to consider introducing legislation to restrict junk food ads on free-to-air television until 9pm.

The group said existing voluntary codes were inadequate and also suggested that all junk food ads in all forms of media should display the product’s HSR.

The committee is made up of seven senators – two  Liberals, two Labor, one each from the Greens and One Nation and independent Tim Storer.

The Liberals wrote dissenting statements, saying a taskforce was unnecessary, HSR should remain voluntary, there shouldn’t be a sugar tax, and current advertising regulations were enough.

“No witnesses who appeared before the inquiry could point to any jurisdiction in the world where the introduction of a sugar tax led to a fall in obesity rates,” they said.

Labor senators also said there was no need for a sugar tax because there isn’t enough evidence.

“Labor senators are particularly concerned that an Australian SSB would likely be regressive, meaning that it would impact lower-income households disproportionately,” they said.

Committee chair, Dr Di Natale said: “We need the full suite of options recommended by the committee if we’re serious about making Australians happier, healthier, and more active.”

Part 2 ALL 22 Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that Commonwealth funding for overweight and obesity prevention efforts and treatment programs should be contingent on the appropriate use of language to avoid stigma and blame in all aspects of public health campaigns, program design and delivery.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Department of Health work with organisations responsible for training medical and allied health professionals to incorporate modules specifically aimed at increasing the understanding and awareness of stigma and blame in medical, psychological and public health interventions of overweight and obesity.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, comprising representatives across all knowledge sectors from federal, state, and local government, and alongside stakeholders from the NGO, private sectors and community members. The Taskforce should sit within the Commonwealth Department of Health and be responsible for all aspects of government policy direction, implementation and the management of funding

Recommendation 3.1

The committee recommends that the newly established National Obesity Taskforce develop a National Obesity Strategy, in consultation with all key stakeholders across government, the NGO and private sectors.

Recommendation 3.2

The committee recommends that the Australian Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends the Minister for Rural Health promote to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation the adoption of the following changes to the current Health Star Rating system:

  • The Health Star Rating Calculator be modified to address inconsistencies in the calculation of ratings in relation to:
  • foods high in sugar, sodium and saturated fat;
  • the current treatment of added sugar;
  • the current treatment of fruit juices;
  • the current treatment of unprocessed fruit and vegetables; and
  • the ‘as prepared’ rules.
  • Representatives of the food and beverage industry sectors may be consulted for technical advice but no longer sit on the HSR Calculator Technical Advisory Group.
  • The Health Star Rating system be made mandatory by 2020.

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends Food Standards Australia New Zealand undertake a review of voluntary front-of-pack labelling schemes to ensure they are fit-forpurpose and adequately represent the nutritional value of foods and beverages.

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends the Minister for Rural Health promote to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation the adoption of mandatory labelling of added sugar on packaged foods and drinks.

Recommendation 9

The committee recommends that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council work with the Department of Health to develop a nutritional information label for fast food menus with the goal of achieving national consistency and making it mandatory in all jurisdictions.

Recommendation 10

The committee recommends the Australian Government introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, with the objectives of reducing consumption, improving public health and accelerating the reformulation of products.

Recommendation 11

The committee recommends that, as part of the 2019 annual review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, Free TV Australia introduce restrictions on discretionary food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9.00pm.

Recommendation 12

The committee recommends that the Australian Government consider introducing legislation to restrict discretionary food and drink advertising on free-toair television until 9.00pm if these restrictions are not voluntary introduced by Free TV Australia by 2020.

Recommendation 13

The committee recommends the Australian Government make mandatory the display of the Health Star Rating for food and beverage products advertised on all forms of media.

Recommendation 14

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee the implementation of a range of National Education Campaigns with different sectors of the Australian community. Educational campaigns will be context dependent and aimed at supporting individuals, families and communities to build on cultural practices and improve nutrition literacy and behaviours around diet, physical activity and well-being.

Recommendation 15

The committee recommends that the National Obesity Taskforce, when established, form a sub-committee directly responsible for the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy.

Recommendation 16

The committee recommends the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) consider adding obesity to the list of medical conditions eligible for the Chronic Disease Management scheme.

Recommendation 17

The committee recommends the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and other college of professional bodies educate their members about the benefits of bariatric surgical interventions for some patients.

Recommendation 18

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce commission evaluations informed by multiple methods of past and current multistrategy prevention programs with the view of designing future programs.

Recommendation 19

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee the implementation of multi-strategy, community based prevention programs in partnership with communities.

Recommendation 20

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce develop a National Physical Activity Strategy.

Recommendation 21

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Recommendation 22

The committee recommends the Commonwealth develop additional initiatives and incentives aimed at increasing access, affordability and consumption of fresh foods in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Part 3 Protect our children chronic disease groups support calls to restrict junk food advertising

Junk food advertising to children urgently needs to be better regulated.

That’s a recommendation from the Senate report on obesity, released last night, and a message that the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance strongly supports.

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said limiting unhealthy food marketing would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and its subsequent consumption.

“Unhealthy weight is a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Preventing obesity in children is particularly important, as it is difficult to reverse weight gain once established,” Ms McGowan said.

Ms McGowan said one in four children are already overweight or obese, and more likely to grow into adults who are overweight or obese with greater risk of chronic disease.

“While there are multiple factors influencing unhealthy weight gain, this is not an excuse for inaction,” she said. “Food companies are spending big money targeting our kids, unhealthy food advertising fills our television screens, our smartphones and digital media channels.

“Currently, self-regulation by industry is limited and there are almost no restrictions for advertising unhealthy foods online – this has to stop.

“We need to act now to stem this tide of obesity and preventable chronic disease, or we risk being the first generation to leave our children with a shorter life expectancy than our own.”

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance also welcomed the Report’s recommendations for the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, improvements to the Health Star Rating food labelling system, development a National Physical Activity Strategy and introduction of a sugary drinks levy.

“We support the recent Government commitment to develop a national approach to obesity and urge the government to incorporate the recommendations from the Senate report for a well-rounded approach to tackle obesity in Australia,” Ms McGowan said.

Part 4

Sugary drink levy among 22 recommendations

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) has welcomed a Senate Inquiry report into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia as an important step toward saving Australians from a lifetime of chronic disease and even premature death.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that when two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, the Inquiry’s comprehensive report provides an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem and a blueprint for tackling it.

“Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but it is not a problem without a solution. Today’s report demonstrates a willingness from representatives across all political parties to investigate the systemic causes of obesity and develop a way forward.”

A key recommendation from the Inquiry’s report is the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks; something the OPC has led calls for, and which has been supported by around 40 public health, community and academic groups in the Tipping the Scales report.

“Sugar is a problem in our diets and sugary drinks are the largest contributor of added sugar for Australians. Consumption of these beverages is associated with chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and tooth decay,” Ms Martin said.

“We have been calling for a 20% health levy on sugary drinks for a number of years, but Australia continues to lag behind 45 other jurisdictions around the world that have introduced levies. When sugary drinks are often cheaper than water, it’s time to take action.”

The report also calls for a review of the current rules around junk food advertising to children.

Ms Martin insisted any review should prioritise an end to the advertising industry’s selfregulated codes.

“We know industry marketing is having a negative effect; it directly impacts what children eat and what they pester their parents for. It’s wallpaper in their lives, bombarding them during their favourite TV shows, infiltrating their social media feeds and plastering their sports grounds and uniforms when they play sport,” Ms Martin said.

“With more than one in four Australian children overweight or obese, it’s time for the Government to acknowledge that leaving food and beverage companies to make their own sham rules allows them to continue to prioritise profits over kids’ health.”

While the Inquiry’s report calls for a National Obesity Strategy, a commitment announced by the COAG Health Ministers earlier this year, Ms Martin stressed that this must be developed independently, without the involvement of the ultra-processed food industry, which has already hampered progress to date.

“The OPC, along with 40 leading community and public health groups, have set out clear actions on how best to tackle obesity in our consensus report, Tipping the Scales. These actions came through strongly from many of the groups who participated in the inquiry and we are pleased to see them reflected in the recommendations.

“The evidence is clear on what works to prevent and reduce obesity, but for real impact we need leadership from policy makers. We need to stop placing the blame on individuals. The Federal and State governments must now work together to push those levers under their control to stem the tide of obesity.”

The senate inquiry report contains 22 recommendations which address the causes, control of obesity, including:

  • The establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, with a view to develop a National Obesity Strategy
  • Introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages
  • The Health Star Rating system be made mandatory by 2020
  • Adoption of mandatory labelling of added sugar
  • Restrictions on discretionary food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9pm
  • Implementation of a National Education Campaign aimed at improving nutrition literacy and behaviours around diet and physical activity
  • Form a sub-committee from the National Obesity Taskforce around the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy

BACKGROUND:

On 10 May 2018, the Senate voted to establish an inquiry to examine the impacts of Australia’s obesity epidemic.

The Select Committee into the obesity epidemic was established on 16 May 2018 to look at the causes of rising levels of obese and overweight people in Australia and how the issue affects children. It also considered the economic burden of the health concern and the effectiveness of existing programs to improve diets and tackle childhood obesity. The inquiry has received 145 submissions and has published its full report today.

The Committee held public hearings from public health, industry and community groups. The OPC provided a submission and Jane Martin gave evidence at one of these sessions.

NACCHO Aboriginal #Heart Health #refreshtheCTGRefresh : Two leading Victorian health organisations have developed a new relationship to help #ClosetheGap on heart disease and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It is essential that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are respected as cultural experts, central to their own care. Yet we can’t expect to close the healthcare gap, let alone eliminate it as is our aim, by working in isolation.

Too many Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are diagnosed with illnesses much later than non-Indigenous Victorians, resulting in a significant burden on health services and other long-term costs on the system.

Together with the Heart Foundation, we can provide support and share information to help Aboriginal communities affected by, or at risk of, heart disease across the state access the services they need.”

VACCHO Acting CEO Trevor Pearce welcomed the opportunity to continue working with the Heart Foundation to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

 ” The people you love, take them for heart health checks.

Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and make sure to ring 000 (Triple Zero) if you think someone in your community is having one. Secondly give cigarettes the boot:

If you smoke, stop. I was only a light smoker but it still did me harm, so now I’ve given up.”

Former champion footballer Nicky Winmar always looked after his health, apart from having been a light smoker for years : Watch video 

Read this article and over 60 NACCHO Aboriginal Heart Health Articles HERE published over 6 years

Two leading Victorian health organisations have developed a new relationship to help Close the Gap on heart disease and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 and  The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the Heart Foundation in Victoria today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to improve the heart health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander communities in this state.

Heart disease is the leading killer of Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are twice as likely to die from heart disease than non-Indigenous people.

In some regions of Victoria, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are hospitalised for heart conditions up to three times more often than non-Indigenous Australians. Yet they are less likely than non-Indigenous people with heart disease to have coronary angiography and other cardiac procedures; to receive or attend cardiac rehabilitation; or to be prescribed statins.

Heart Foundation CEO Victoria Kellie-Ann Jolly said, “Signing this MOU reinforces the relationship and commitment both organisations have towards achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander peoples.

“We understand how important it is to build mutual respect and trust at a local level through our previous work with Shepparton’s Rumbalara Aboriginal Health Service, and as part of the Lighthouse Hospital Project with the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service and the town’s local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO),” Ms Jolly said.

“With almost one-quarter of the mortality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people due to cardiovascular disease, it is vital we work together to address this pressing issue.

“We see our collaboration with VACCHO as a long-term partnership towards achieving our shared vision of improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heart health care in Victoria.

“While there’s still a long way to go, increasing awareness of heart disease and working towards improved pathways to access culturally-safe healthcare services are critical if we are to see change.

“Eliminating rheumatic heart disease, which is far more common in Indigenous communities, is another priority for the Heart Foundation. It is only through working together with grass-roots organisations and the peak body, VACCHO, that we can begin to address this issue.”

VACCHO and the Heart Foundation will also work together to advocate for projects and initiatives that strive towards health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This MOU signing marks a significant step towards Closing the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

About the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. For close to 60 years, it’s led the battle to save lives and improve the heart health of all Australians. Its sights are set on a world where people don’t suffer or die prematurely because of heart disease. To find out more about the Heart Foundation’s research program or to make a donation, visit www.heartfoundation.org.au or call 13 11 12.

About VACCHO

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc (VACCHO) was established in 1996. VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal health and wellbeing in Victoria, with 30 Member ACCOs providing support to approximately 25,000 Aboriginal people across the state.

Visit www.vaccho.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #refreshtheCTGRefresh : Download the @AIHW National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: results for 2017 showing improvements in 16 out of a possible 23 measures

Between June and December 2017, improvements were seen in 16 out of a possible 23 measures for which comparable data for both periods were available (see Table S1 for details). Results for a further indicator remained stable between reporting periods.

The improvements were seen in 12 of the 15 process-of-care measures with comparable data. Improvements were also seen in 4 of the 8 outcome measures, while 1 outcome measure remained stable. The largest improvements (4 or 5 percentage points) were seen in the recording practices for the measuring of:

  • influenza immunisations for clients with type 2 diabetes, which rose from 31% to 36%
  • influenza immunisations for clients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which rose from 32% to 37%
  • influenza immunisations for clients aged 50 and over, which rose from 32% to 36%. ” 

 Extract from good news from AIHW Report

 Download full 158 page report HERE

aihw-ihw-200 (1)

Summary

This is the fifth national report on the Indigenous primary health care national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs) data collection. It presents data on all 24 nKPI indicators for the first time.

Data for this collection are provided to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) by primary health care organisations that receive funding from the Australian Government Department of Health to provide services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Some primary health care organisations included in the collection receive additional funding from other sources, including state and territory health departments.

As of the June 2017 data collection, changes have been made to the data extraction method, with the Department of Health introducing a new direct load reporting process. This allowed Communicare, Medical Director, and Primary Care Information System (PCIS) clinical information systems (CISs) to generate nKPI data within their clinical system, and transmit directly to the OCHREStreams portal. Best Practice services were provided with an interim tool while MMEx has always had direct load capability.

61.9 % our ACCHO’s

The new process was introduced to provide a greater level of consistency between CISs, but the change in the extraction method means that data from June 2017 onwards are not comparable with earlier collections.

As the June 2017 collection represents a new baseline for the collection, this report only presents data for June and December 2017.

For 2 indicators (Kidney function tests recorded and Kidney function test results) only December 2017 results are presented due to unresolved data quality issues in June 2017.

See Chapter 2 for more information on the change in extraction method, data quality, and the impact  on the collection, and Appendix E for data improvement projects and the nKPI/Online Service Reporting (OSR) review under way.

Improvements were seen for most indicators between June and December 2017. Although data from these 2 reporting periods are not comparable with earlier reporting periods, an overall pattern of improvement is in keeping with the pattern of improvement previously reported for the period June 2012 to May 2015 (see AIHW 2017). This indicates that health organisations continue to show progress in service provision.

Things to work on

For the 3 process-of-care indicators that did not show improvements—glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) result recorded (6 months), cervical screening, and Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) health assessment for those aged 0–4—the changes were very small (0.5, 0.4, and 0.1 percentage points, respectively).

In the case of cervical screening, this might be due to changes to the cervical screening program, which took effect from 1 December 2017 (see Chapter 4 for details).

Three outcome measures that did not show improvements—HbA1c result of 7% or less, low birthweight, and smoking status of women who gave birth in the previous 12 months—saw changes of between 0.8 and 1.8 percentage points.

Contents

  • 1 Introduction
    • The nKPI collection
    • Structure of this report
  • 2 Data quality
    • Data quality issues
    • Additional considerations for interpreting nKPI data
  • 3 Maternal and child health indicators
    • Why are these indicators important?
    • 3.1 First antenatal visit
    • 3.2 Birthweight recorded
    • 3.3 MBS health assessment (item 715) for children aged 0-4
    • 3.4 Child immunisation
    • 3.5 Birthweight result
    • 3.6 Smoking status of females who gave birth within the previous 12 months
  • 4 Preventative health indicators
    • Why are these important?
    • 4.1 Smoking status recorded
    • 4.2 Alcohol consumption recorded
    • 4.3 MBS health assessment (item 715) for adults aged 25 and over
    • 4.4 Risk factors assessed to enable cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment
    • 4.5 Cervical screening
    • 4.6 Immunised against influenza-Indigenous regular clients aged 50 and over
    • 4.7 Smoking status result
    • 4.8 Body mass index classified as overweight or obese
    • 4.9 AUDIT-C result
    • 4.10 Cardiovascular disease risk assessment result
  • 5 Chronic disease management indicators
    • Why are these important?
    • 5.1 General Practitioner Management Plan-clients with type 2 diabetes
    • 5.2 Team Care Arrangement-clients with type 2 diabetes
    • 5.3 Blood pressure result recorded-clients with type 2 diabetes
    • 5.4 HbA1c result recorded-clients with type 2 diabetes
    • 5.5 Kidney function test recorded-clients with type 2 diabetes
    • 5.6 Kidney function test recorded-clients with cardiovascular disease
    • 5.7 Immunised against influenza-clients with type 2 diabetes
    • 5.8 Immunised against influenza-clients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • 5.9 Blood pressure result-clients with type 2 diabetes
    • 5.10 HbA1c result-clients with type 2 diabetes
    • 5.11 Kidney function test result-clients with type 2 diabetes-eGFR
    • 5.12 Kidney function test result-clients with type 2 diabetes-ACR
    • 5.13 Kidney function test result-clients with cardiovascular disease-eGFR
  • 6 Discussion
    • Data improvements
  • Appendix A: Background to the nKPI collection and indicator technical specifications
  • Appendix B: Data completeness
  • Appendix C: Comparison of nKPI results
  • Appendix D: State and territory and remoteness variation figures
  • Appendix E: Data improvement projects
  • Appendix F: Guide to the figures
  • Glossary
  • References

NACCHO Aboriginal #Heart Health #NACCHOagm2018 Report 2 of 5 @HeartAust #HeartMaps data release : Heart-related hospitalisations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are up to 4.5 x higher than non-Indigenous Australians

 
We know that locally led solutions harness and build on local strengths and wisdom. It is these locally-led solutions that will be the only way to successfully tackle these complex problems contributing to Aboriginal heart health outcomes.
Ultimately, the Heart Foundation believes everyone should be able to live a full and healthy life, no matter where they live or what their cultural background.” 

NACCHO CEO Patricia Turner

We cannot be complacent about the rates of heart disease being experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as heart disease is responsible for around one quarter of the gap in life expectancy compared to non-Indigenous Australians.
In some parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, the hospitalisation rates are over four times higher than for non-Indigenous people living in the same region.”

The new data now available on the Australian Heart Maps was released in Brisbane last week by the Heart Foundation’s Aboriginal Engagement Manager, Corey Turner, and Health Equity Manager, Jane Potter, at the annual conference of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

We want to work with communities, local Aboriginal Medical Services and health professionals, taking time to listen and understand the local issues that impact on heart health of communities. Our partners, including NACCHO, are key to this.

Partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and health professionals are critical to addressing the current inequities in heart health says Corey Turner 

Indigenous Australians die from heart disease at double the rate of other Australians, and in some areas, at triple the rate of the rest of the community, according to new data released by the Heart Foundation today.

At a national level, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are admitted to hospital for a heart condition 2.6 times more often than non-Indigenous Australians.

Even more seriously, in most parts of Australia (33 regions out of 47) Indigenous Australians are hospitalised at rates above this national average. Indigenous women in the Northern Territory are hospitalised for heart conditions over six times more than other Australians.

Ms Potter said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were suffering the most. “In the Northern Territory alone, Indigenous women are being admitted to hospital with heart failure at six times the rate of non-Indigenous women in the Territory,” said Ms Potter.  “If people are living in the same region, with the same level of access to services, then we’ve got to ask the question – why are the health outcomes so different?”

The Heart Foundation says for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, there is a historical distrust of mainstream health services:

“This can mean that many will delay seeking medical help at their local clinic (if they have one) in time to prevent being hospitalised. They can also discharge themselves early against medical advice because they are so anxious about being in hospital, beginning a cycle of poor outcomes and repeat admissions.”

But there are broader issues too. “We know that heart health improves with a good education, secure employment, adequate housing and access to affordable healthy food,” Mr Turner said.

 “We know that 24 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 15 reported having run out of food in the previous 12 months – in remote areas, as many as 36 per cent. People in remote areas pay the highest prices for food, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, which are harder to come by.

“It is no coincidence that many of the regions with the highest hospitalisations rates also have lower rates of literacy and employment, as well as housing issues. It’s hard to prioritise your health when there are so many other hardships. These areas have entrenched social and economic challenges and many also have higher rates of smoking and obesity,” Mr Turner said.

Around the nation

  • Western Australia and the Northern Territory have the widest gap in hospitalisation rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (almost 400 per cent). Western Australia also had five of the 10 regions with the widest gap.
  • Western Australia had the highest gap in death rates from heart disease, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the state dying from heart disease at nearly three times the rate of non-Indigenous West Australians.
  • Northern Territory had the highest rate of heart disease deaths among Indigenous peoples (175.1 per 100,000 people). This compares to NSW, which had the lowest rate (119.9 per 100,000 people). Victoria had the lowest rate of variation in hospital admission rates.
  • South Australia had the lowest difference in rates of heart disease deaths, but even there, Indigenous peoples had a 50 per cent higher risk of dying from heart disease than other Australians.

Filming at the NACCHO AGM Conference

The Heart Foundation is working with eighteen hospitals across Australia as part of the Lighthouse Hospital Project, which aims to create culturally safe experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when they are admitted to hospital for heart problems.

View the Australian Heart Maps.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Nutrition : Download @aihw Nutrition across the life stages report @CHFofAustralia Poor diet findings underline calls for action on #obesity now : More than one-third of Australians’ energy intake comes from junk foods.

 

” More than one-third of Australians’ energy intake comes from junk foods. Known as discretionary foods, these include biscuits, chips, ice-cream and alcohol. For those aged 51-70, alcoholic drinks account for more than one-fifth of discretionary food intake.

These are some of the findings from the Nutrition across the life stages report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ” 

From The Conversation see Part 3 below

Download copy aihw-nutrition report

 ” Overall, the diets of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are similar. However, Indigenous adults in some age groups eat less fruit, vegetables and dairy products and alternatives.

They also have a lower intake of fibre and a higher intake of discretionary food and added sugars than non-Indigenous adults.”

For Indigenous Health see page 108 or Part 2 Below

Part 1 Poor diet findings underline calls for action on obesity now

Read our NACCHO Obesity submission plus 60 articles here

The poor diet of many Australians, beginning in childhood, as revealed in a new official report, underlines the need for concerted national action on obesity, the Consumers Health Forum has said

The report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released today shows that Australians generally do not eat enough of the right food, like vegetables, and too much food rich in fat, salt and sugars.

“These findings again vindicate calls over the years by health and community groups for concerted action on obesity and at last, Australia’s health ministers have agreed to develop a national strategy to counter this huge public health challenge,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“We welcome the decision by the COAG Health Ministers Council last week to develop a national plan on obesity.

“As this new AIHW report Nutrition across the life stages, shows, there is great scope for improving diets of most Australians of all ages.  This includes children whose formative diets do not include enough vegetables, teenagers who tend to eat too much junk food and even those in middle age whose alcohol intake is often too high.

“It has taken too long to reach a national agreement for action on obesity.  Now health ministers must move promptly to introduce effective measures.

“Governments have a ready-made blueprint for action, provided by the Obesity Policy Coalition’s report Tipping the Scales, which CHF strongly supported.

“After a comprehensive and expert investigation, that report proposed eight critical actions to tackle obesity.  These included tougher restrictions on TV junk food advertising, food reformulation targets, mandatory Health Star ratings on food, an active transport strategy, public health education campaigns and a 20 per cent health levy on sugary drinks.

The Health Ministers considered a number of aspects relating to obesity. They agreed that the national strategy should have a strong focus on prevention measures and social determinants of health, especially in relation to early childhood and rural and regional issues.

The Consumers Health Forum has called for more effective measures to counter obesity over several years.

In January 2015, with the support of the Obesity Policy Coalition, the Heart Foundation and the Public Health Association of Australia, CHF released the results of an Essential Research poll showing strong community backing for national action on obesity.

That poll revealed that 79 per cent of Australians polled believed that if we don’t do more to lower the intake of fatty sugary and salty foods/drinks, our children will live shorter lives than their parents. Half of those polled then approved of the idea of a tax on junk food/sugary drinks.

“We called then for the Federal Government to take decisive action to stop the never-ending promotion of unhealthy food and drink, particularly to young people.

“Australia has lagged behind other nations in taking effective action against obesity which is one of the greatest triggers of chronic health problems which afflict a growing number of Australians.

Unless we act now to arrest this trend, it will add up to even greater demands on our health system as it attempts to manage the growing levels of chronic disease in the community.

“The time for talk is well past.  We need action now,” Ms Wells said.

Part 2 Indigenous Australians

This report looked at whether food and nutrient intakes and health outcomes differ between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and found that overall, there is little difference.
Intake of serves from the 5 food groups for Indigenous children is similar to the intake for
non-Indigenous children.

However, differences are seen in the adult populations, particularly for fruit, vegetables, dairy products and alternatives (for those aged 19–50 and 71 and over) and grain foods
(for those aged 19–50), where intake is lower for Indigenous Australians.

Comparing the contribution of discretionary food to energy intake for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, the main differences are seen in women aged 19–30 and men and
women aged 31–50, with the contribution being higher in Indigenous Australians

While the intake of added sugars appears higher among Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians, this is only significant in those aged 19–30 and 31–50. Intake of saturated and trans fats and sodium are similar for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Fibre intake for Indigenous Australians aged 19–30 and 31–50 is lower than for non-Indigenous Australians.

The small survey sample for Indigenous Australians makes comparisons difficult when looking at  levels of physical activity as there is a high margin of error, so results should be interpreted with caution.

Levels of sufficient physical activity appear higher in Indigenous Australians; however, in most cases, the differences are not statistically significant.

The only exceptions are children aged 4–8 and boys aged 9–13, where the levels are higher in Indigenous Australians. For adults aged 19–30 and 31–50, non-Indigenous Australians have higher levels of physical activity.

For males, the prevalence of overweight and obesity does not differ by Indigenous status.

However, for women, from the age of 19, the prevalence is higher among Indigenous women than non-Indigenous women.

Among Indigenous Australians, there is no difference in the prevalence of overweight and obesity between males and females, unlike non-Indigenous Australians, where from the age of 19, the prevalence is higher in men than women.

Diet quality among Indigenous Australians may be affected by the remoteness of the area in which they live, as a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians live outside of Major cities than non-Indigenous Australians (AIHW 2018a).

Hudson (2010) suggests that many Indigenous Australians know what foods they need to maintain health; however, supply and affordability of fresh produce appear to be limiting factors in dietary quality.

Limited stock of fruit and vegetables have been found in remote shops near Indigenous communities, with some areas going without a delivery of fresh produce for weeks. And what is available is expensive.

When deliveries are received, stock can be up to 2 weeks old, so of poor quality. Additionally, lack of competition in these areas appears to be a factor with price.

Fibre-modified and fortified white bread appears to provide a large proportion of energy and required key nutrients for Indigenous Australians living in remote areas (in particular protein, folate, iron and calcium) (Brimblecombe et al. 2013a; Brimblecombe et al. 2013b; Gwynn et al. 2012).

The diet of Indigenous Australians have for some time, been shifting from traditional Indigenous diets that were previously high protein, fibre, polyunsaturated fat and complex carbohydrates to a more highly refined carbohydrate diet, with added sugars, saturated fat, sodium and low levels of fibre (Ferguson et al. 2017).

This may be due to lack of access to traditional food and general food affordability (Brimblecombe et al. 2014).

Lack of facilities to prepare and store food such as refrigerators and stovetops, have also caused an increased reliance of ready-made meals or takeaway foods for Indigenous Australians living in remote areas (Hudson 2010).

Part 3 from The Conversation

From HERE 

The report also shows physical activity levels are low in most age groups. Only 15% of 9-to-13-year-old girls achieve the 60-minute target. The prevalence of overweight and obesity remains high, reaching 81% for males aged 51–70.

The food intake patterns outlined in this report, together with low physical activity levels, highlight why as a country we are struggling to turn the tide on obesity rates.

Not much change in our diets

The report shows little has changed in Australians’ overall food intake patterns between 1995 and 2011-12. There have been slight decreases in discretionary food intake, with some trends for increased intakes of grain foods and meat and alternatives.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/q7vtu/4/

The message to eat more vegetables is not hitting the mark. There has been no change in vegetable intake in children and adolescents and a decrease in vegetable intake in adults since past surveys. The new data show all Australians fall well short of the recommended five serves daily. We are are closer to meeting the recommended one to two serves of fruit each day.

Australians are consuming around four serves of grains, including breads and cereals, compared to the recommended three to seven serves.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/dJD6n/4/

One serve of vegetables is equivalent to ½ cup of cooked vegetables. For fruit, this is a medium apple; grains is around ½ cup of pasta. A glass of milk and 65-120g of cooked meat are the equivalent serves for dairy and its alternatives, and meat and its alternatives respectively.

The data show a trend of lower serves of the five food groups in outer metro, regional and remote areas of Australia. Access to quality, fresh foods such as vegetables at affordable prices is a key barrier in many remote communities and can be a challenge in outer suburban and country areas of Australia.

There was also a 7-10 percentage point difference in meeting physical activity targets between major cities and regional or remote areas of Australia. Overweight and obesity levels were 53% in major cities, 57% in inner regional areas and 61% in outer regional/remote areas.

The CSIRO Healthy Diet Score compares food intake to Australian Dietary Guidelines. You can use these to see how your diet stacks up and how to improve.

Discretionary food servings

Discretionary foods are defined in guidelines as foods and drinks that are

not needed to meet nutrient requirements and do not fit into the Five Food Groups … but when consumed sometimes or in small amounts, these foods and drinks contribute to the overall enjoyment of eating.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/ZyNXL/4/

A serve of discretionary food is 600kJ, equivalent to six hot chips, two plain biscuits, or a small glass of wine. The guidelines advise no more than three serves of these daily – 0.5 serves for under 8-year-olds.

Since 1995, the contribution of added sugars and saturated fat to Australians’ energy intake has generally decreased. This may be a reflection of the small decrease in discretionary food intake seen for most age groups.

But across all life stages, discretionary food intakes remain well in excess of the 0-3 serves recommended. Children at 2-3 years are eating more than three servers per day, peaking at seven daily serves in 14-to-18-year-olds. The patterns remains high throughout adulthood, still more four serves per day in the 70+ group.


Read more: Junk food packaging hijacks the same brain processes as drug and alcohol addiction


The excess intake of discretionary foods is the most concerning trend in this report. This is due to the doubleheader of their poor nutrient profile and being eaten in place of important, nutrient-rich groups such as vegetables, whole grains and dairy foods.

Our simulation modelling compared strategies to reduce discretionary food intake in the Australian population. We found cutting discretionary choice intake by half or replacing half of discretionary choices with the five food groups would have significant benefits for reducing intake of energy and so-called “risk” nutrients (sodium and added sugar), while maintaining or improving overall diet quality.

Main contributors to discretionary foods

Alcohol is often the forgotten discretionary choice. The NHMRC 2009 guidelines state:

For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day (and no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion) reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cqgYQ/2/

For adults aged 51–70, alcoholic drinks account for more than one-fifth (22%) of discretionary food intake. Alcohol intake in adults aged 51-70+ has increased since 1995. This age group includes people at the peak of their careers, retirees and older people. Stress, increased leisure time, mental health challenges and factors such as loneliness and isolation would all play a part in this complex picture.

 

Young children have small appetites and every bite matters. The guidelines suggest 2-to-3-year-olds should have very limited exposure to discretionary foods. In, studies the greatest levels of excess weight are seen in preschool years.

Biscuits, cakes and muffins are the key source of added sugars for young children. These are also the top source of energy and saturated fat and a key source of salt in young children. This is the time when lasting food habits and preferences are formed.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldStrokeDay @strokefdn #UpAgainAfterStroke. One-third to a half of all our mob in their 40s, 50s and 60s are at high risk of future heart attack or stroke but the good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

 ” Around 80 million people living in the world today have experienced a stroke and over 50 million survivors live with some form of permanent disability as a result.

In Australia, stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer. It is the biggest cause of adult disability.

While for many, life after stroke won’t be quite the same, with the right care and support living a meaningful life is still possible.

As millions of stroke survivors show us every day, it is possible to get #UpAgainAfterStroke.

While the impact of stroke will be different for everyone, on World Stroke Day (29 October) we want to focus the world’s attention on what unites stroke survivors and caregivers, namely their resilience and capacity to build on the things that stroke can’t take away – their determination to keep going on the recovery journey.

Stroke Foundation World Stroke Day 

Download World Stroke Day 2018 Brochure

 

Recently released Australian National University 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, with high levels of risk were occurring in people younger than 35.

The good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

As a first step, I encourage all the mob to visit to visit one of our 302 ACCHO clinics , their local GP or community health centre for a health check, or take advantage of a free digital health check at your local pharmacy to learn more about your stroke risk factors.

On World Stroke Day we are urging all the mob to take steps to reduce their stroke risk.”

Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media editor and himself a stroke survivor 3 years ago today 

 The current guidelines recommend that a stroke risk screening be provided for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over 35 years of age. However there is an argument to introduce that screening at a younger age.

Education is required to assist all Australians to understand what a stroke is, how to reduce the risk of stroke and the importance be fast acting at the first sign of stroke.”

Dr Mark Wenitong, Public Health Medical Advisor at Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima), says that strokes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and Health screening, and just as importantly, a healthypregnancy and early childhood can reduce risk for the child in later life.

Naomi Wenitong  pictured above 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 and celebrate World Stroke Week in your community.

Listen to the new rap song HERE  or Hear

The song, written by Cairns speech pathologist Rukmani Rusch and performed by leading Indigenous artist Naomi Wenitong, was created to boost low levels of stroke awareness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the rap packed a punch, delivering an important message, in a fun and accessible way.

“The Stroke Rap has a powerful message we all need to hear,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“Too many Australians continue to lose their lives to stroke each year when most strokes can be prevented.

“Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song, remember and act on its stroke awareness and prevention message – it could save their life.”

Ms McGowan said the song’s message was particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who were over represented in stroke statistics.

Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islanders are twice as likely to be hospitalised for stroke and are 1.4 times more likely to die from stroke than non-indigenous Australians. These alarming figures were revealed in a recent study conducted by the Australian National University.

There is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are overrepresented in stroke statistics. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Australia.

Apunipima delivers primary health care services, health screening, health promotion and education to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people across 11 Cape York communities. These health screens will help to make sure you aren’t at risk  .

We encourage you to speak to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health Practitioner or visit one of Apunipima’s Health Centres or your nearest ACCO to talk to them about getting a health screen.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted, depriving an area of the brain of oxygen. This is usually caused by a clot (ischaemic stroke) or a bleed in the brain (haemorrhagic stroke).

Brief stroke-like episodes that resolve by themselves are called transient ischaemicattacks (TIAs). They are often a sign of an impending stroke, and need to be treated seriously.

Stroke is a time-critical medical emergency. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage. After an ischaemic stroke, patients can lose up to 1.9 million neurons a minute until blood flow to the brain is restored.

What to do in case of stroke?

Stroke is a time-critical medical emergency. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage. After an ischaemic stroke, patients can lose up to 1.9 million neurons a minute until blood flow to the brain is restored.

The Australian National Stroke Foundation promotes the FAST tool as a quick way for anyone to identify a possible stroke. FAST consists of the following simple steps:

Face – has their mouth has dropped on one side?

Arm – can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – is critical. Call an ambulance.

But the good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

Part 3

WHEN Aboriginal elder Aunty Pam Smith first had a stroke she had no idea what was happening to her body.

On her way back to town from a traditional smoking ceremony, she became confused, her jaw slack and dribbling.

FROM HERE

Picture above : CARE: Coral and Bill Toomey at National Stroke Awareness Week.

“I started feeling headachey, when they opened up the car and the cool air hit me I didn’t know where I was – I was in LaLa Land,” she said.

A guest speaker at the Stroke Foundation National Stroke Awareness Week event in Tamworth, Ms Smith has created a cultural awareness book about strokes for other Aboriginal people.

Watch Aunty Pams Story

She hopes it will teach others what to expect and how to look out for signs of a stroke, Aboriginal people are 1.4 times more likely to die from stroke than non-Indigenous people.

But, most still don’t go to hospital for help.

“Every time we went to a hospital we were treated for one thing, alcoholism – a bad heart or kidneys because of alcohol,” Ms Smith said.

“We were past that years ago, we’re up to what we call white fella’s things now.”

Elders encouraged people to make small changes in their daily lives, to quit smoking, eat a balanced diet and drink less alcohol.

For Bill Toomey it was a chance to speak with people who understood what it was like to have a stroke. A trip to Sydney in 2010 ended in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital when he was found unconscious.

Now in a wheelchair, Mr Toomey was once a football referee and an Aboriginal Health Education Officer.

“I wouldn’t wish a stroke on anyone,” Mr Toomey said.

“I didn’t have the signs, the face didn’t drop or speech.”

His wife Coral Toomey cares for him, she was in Narrabri when he was rushed to hospital.

“Sometimes you want to hide, sit down and cry because there’s nothing you can do to help them,” she said.

“You’re doing what you can but you feel inside that it’s not enough to help them.”

Stroke survivor Pam Smith had a message for her community.

“Please go and have a second opinion, it doesn’t matter where or who it is – go to the hospital,” she said.

“If you’re not satisfied with your doctor go to another one.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #rethinksugarydrink : A new campaign asking people to reduce their sugar intake highlights the link between obesity and 13 different types of cancer

 ” Obesity is now a leading preventable cause of cancer , but less than half of all Australians are aware of the link . A new campaign launched today by Cancer Council Victoria is aiming to change this.

In a ground-breaking new public awareness campaign, Cancer Council Victoria will expose the link between obesity and 13 types of cancer by depicting the toxic fat around internal organs.

As many as 98% of Australians are aware that obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but as little as 40% of Australians know about its link with cancer . ”

Being above a healthy weight is now a leading preventable cause of cancer. Our new campaign urges people to avoid to reduce their risk

You wouldn’t put this much sugar in a tea or coffee? But if you’re drinking one soft drink a day, over 20 years – that’s 73,000 teaspoons.”

Dr Gihan Jayaweera

A third of Victorians admit to drinking more than a litre of sugary drink each week 7, that’s more than 5.5kgs of sugar a year. We want people to realise that they could be drinking their way towards weight gain, obesity and toxic fat, increasing their risk of 13 types of cancer,”

Dr Ahmad Aly

 ” 69% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are considered overweight (29%) or obese (40%); among children this is 30% (20% overweight, 10% obese) “

Read over 60 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Obesity articles

Or see Statistics part 2 Below 

SEE NEWS COVERAGE

https://www.9news.com.au/7f9400a3-9f9d-4e39-9eb2-eef88a7291ce

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper, acknowledged that the campaign’s portrayal of toxic fat could be confronting but said so was the fact that nearly two-thirds of Australians were overweight or obese 4.

“While talking about weight is a sensitive issue, we can’t shy away from the risk being above a healthy weight poses to our health.” Mr Harper said.

“With around 3,900 cancers in Australia each year linked to being above a healthy weight, it’s vital that we work hard to help people understand the link and encourage them to take steps to reduce their risk 5.”

Sugary drinks contribute the most added sugar to Australians’ diets 6, so Cancer Council Victoria is focusing on how these beverages can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which can increase the risk of certain cancers. The campaign will communicate that one way of reducing the risk is to cut sugary drinks from your diet.

The ad features Melbourne surgeon Dr Ahmad Aly exposing in graphic detail what sugary drinks could be doing to your health, as his laparoscopic camera delves inside a patient’s body to expose the dangerous toxic fat around internal organs.

Watch Video 

Dr Aly has seen first-hand the impact toxic fat has on people’s health and hopes the campaign will make people think again before reaching for sugary drinks.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that while the campaign aims to get people thinking about their own habits, Cancer Council Victoria and partner organisations are also working to encourage governments, the food industry, and communities to make changes.

“It’s virtually impossible to escape the enormous amount of marketing for sugary drinks surrounding us on TV, social media and public transport. It’s also easier to get a sugary drink than it is to find a water fountain in many public places, and that’s got to change. We need to take sugary drinks out of schools, recreation and healthcare settings to make it easier for Victorians to make healthy choices.”

“The need for a healthy weight strategy in Victoria, as well as nationally, is overdue. In the same way tobacco reforms have saved lives, we now need to apply the same approach to improving diets”, Ms Martin said.

Case study: Fiona Humphreys

Since giving up the sweet stuff, Fiona Humphreys has more energy and has managed to shed the kilos and keep them off.

“I used to drink at least two sugary drinks every day as a pick me up, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I was addicted to the sugar rush and thought I needed them to get through my busy day.”

“After giving up sugary drinks I saw an immediate change in both my mood and my waistline. I lost 7 kilos just by making that one simple change and I haven’t looked back.”

“I decided to go cold turkey and switched to soda or mineral water with a slice of lime or lemon. I tricked my mind to enjoy the bubbles and put it into a beautiful glass. I feel healthier and my mind is clearer as a result.”

The campaign will run for five weeks and be shown on TV and radio and will feature across social media channels as well as outdoors across the state.

A dedicated campaign website cancervic.org.au/healthyweight will provide factsheets for health professionals and consumers and digital elements about how to make small lifestyle changes to improve people’s health.

Top tips to avoid sugary drinks 

  • Avoid going down the soft drink aisle at the supermarket and beware of the specials at the checkout and service stations.
  • If you’re eating out, don’t go with the default soft drink – see what other options there are, or just ask for water.
  • Carry a water bottle, so you don’t have to buy a drink if you’re thirsty.
  • Herbal teas, sparkling water, home-made smoothies or fruit infused water are simple alternatives that still taste great.
  • For inspiration and recipe ideas visit cancervic.org.au/healthyweight

How is sugar linked to weight gain

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate which provides energy to the body. However, eating too much sugar over time can lead to weight gain. Strong evidence shows that being above a healthy weight increases the risk of developing 13 different types of cancer and chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Let’s unpack what happens when our body receives more energy than it needs, how this can lead to weight gain and what you can do to decrease your risk of cancer.

Where do we find sugar?

In terms of health risks, we need to be concerned about ‘added sugar’. That is, sugar that has been added to food or drink.

Natural sugars in foods

  • Fruit and milk products
  • High in nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fibre or calcium.
  • We should eat these foods every day.

Sugar added to food

  • Processed foods
  • These foods are unhealthy and high in energy (kJ).
  • They don’t have other nutrients we need such as fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • We should limit these foods.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities tend to have higher rates of obesity and sugary drink consumption and experience poorer health outcomes as a result.

We know that more than half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community drink sugary drinks almost every day.

The Overview also examined factors contributing to health, including nutrition and body weight. Some statistics of note include:

  • dietary risks contribute 9.7% to the total burden of disease for Aboriginal people
  • 69% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are considered overweight (29%) or obese (40%); among children this is 30% (20% overweight, 10% obese)
  • 54% of Indigenous Australians meet the daily recommended serves of fruit; only 8% meet the daily recommended serves of vegetables
  • both measures are lower in remote communities compared with urban areas and intake is far more likely to be inadequate among the unemployed and those who did not finish school
  • on average, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consume 41% of their daily energy in the form of discretionary foods — 8.8% as cereal-based products (cakes, biscuits & pastries) and 6.9% as non-alcoholic beverages (soft drinks)
  • average daily sugar consumption is 111g — two-thirds (or the equivalent of 18tsp of white sugar) of which are free sugars from discretionary foods and beverages
  • 22% of Aboriginal people reported running out of food and being unable to afford more in the past 12 months; 7% said they had run out and gone hungry — both were more prevalent in remote areas

In the latest issue of JournalWatch, Dr Melissa Stoneham takes a look at obesity in Australia’s remote Indigenous communities and the struggle to eat well against the odds

Read in full at Croakey

Yorta Yorta woman Michelle Crilly gave up her sugary drink habit and hasn’t looked back. Watch her story.

Video: Rethink Sugary Drink - Michelle Crilly

Read more about the ‘Our Stories’ campaign and hear from more inspiring Victorian Aboriginal community members who have cut back on sugary drinks on our partner site Rethink Sugary Drink.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Nutrition : Download @HealthInfoNet review that confirms community involvement is the most important factor determining the success of Aboriginal food and nutrition programs

It is important to note that from all the available evidence reviewed, that the most important factor determining the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander food and nutrition programs is community involvement in the program initiation, development and implementation, with community members working in partnership across all stages of development’.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (HealthInfoNet) at Edith Cowan University has published a new Review of programs and services to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition and food security.

Download

Review+of+programs+and+services+to+improve+Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+nutrition+and+food+security

This review is a companion document to the recent Review of nutrition among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people published in February 2018. It builds on the broad discussion in that review by capturing a wider sample of evaluated programs and services and providing more detail about successful programs.

Written by Amanda Lee from the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, The Sax Institute and Kathy Ride from the HealthInfoNet, the review highlights that improving diets, food supply and food security to better prevent and manage poor nutrition and diet-related disease is vital to the current and future health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This review identifies that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are motivated to tackle diet-related health issues and they recognise the importance of improving nutrition to prevent and manage growth faltering and chronic disease. However, community effort needs to be supported through the building of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition workforce, and adequate government investment of funds and policy commitment to sustain improvement of nutrition and diet-related health.

Improving diets, food supply and food security to better prevent and manage poor nutrition and diet-related disease is vital to the current and future health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people.

Effective action requires a whole-of-life approach, across the whole health continuum, including: preventive community interventions; public health nutrition policy actions; nutrition promotion; and quality clinical nutrition and dietetic services .

Previous reviews of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander food and nutrition programs have consistently noted the lack of availability of rigorously-evaluated interventions, especially with respect to long term evaluations .

Quality evaluations with practical recommendations are critical to helping the workforce build on what has been learnt. Evaluation reports and recommendations need to be publically available for policy makers and practitioners to learn from, apply and build on .

Other reviews have found that most nutrition interventions have focused on remote settings despite most Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people living in urban and regional areas.

Most of these employed a comprehensive, whole-of-population approach – combining provision and promotion of healthier options in community food stores with nutrition education – which was found to be effective .

As with all health programs, nutrition programs should be developed with the target communities, be delivered according to cultural protocols, be tailored to community needs, and not be forced, or perceived to be forced, upon communities (see Box 1)

A major success factor is community involvement in (and, ideally, control of) decisions relating to all stages of program initiation, development, implementation and evaluation [9; 10; 14]. Program implementation methods that build confidence among collaborating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health agencies are fundamental to building capacity to enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition and health .

The typical short-term funding cycles experienced in this area are at odds with the time required for community stakeholders to develop capacity to mobilise and build momentum for specific interventions.

An effective ecological approach to chronic disease prevention also requires inter-organisational collaboration in planning and implementation . While many programs targeting nutritional issues are implemented as healthy lifestyle programs to address obesity, it must be remembered
that diet is more than a ‘lifestyle’ choice – it is determined by the availability of and access to healthy food, and by having the infrastructure, knowledge and skills to prepare healthy food.

To improve diet-related health sustainably it will be necessary to take a food systems approach .

The underlying factors influencing nutrition and food security in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities include socioeconomic factors such as income and employment opportunities, housing, over-crowding, transport, food costs, cultural food values, education, food and nutrition literacy, knowledge, skills and community strengths.

Key points

• Nutrition, public health and Indigenous health experts are calling for a nationwide, comprehensive, sustained effort to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition.

Primary prevention of diet-related disease and conditions

• The most effective community-based programs tend to adopt a multi-strategy approach, addressing both food supply (availability, affordability, accessibility and acceptability of foods), and demand for healthy foods.
• Supply of micronutrient supplements rather than food does not address the underlying issues of food insecurity, poor dietary patterns or high rates of obesity.
• The population health intervention of folate fortification of bread flour has had the desired effect of increasing folate status in the Australian Aboriginal population.
• Analysis of remote store sales data during the Northern Territory Emergency Response found that income management provided no beneficial impact in relation to purchasing of tobacco, soft drink or fruit and vegetables.
• Nutrition programs implemented at the community level mainly focus on improving food supply and/or increasing demand for healthy food.
• As with all health programs, all nutrition programs should be developed with communities, be delivered according to cultural protocols, be tailored to community needs, and be directed by the communities.

Primary health care and clinical nutrition and dietetic services

• Primary health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need to deliver both competent and culturally appropriate dietetic and chronic disease care.
• Health services run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities provide holistic care that is relevant to the local community and addresses the physical, social, spiritual and emotional health of the clients.
• The involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers has been identified by health professionals and patients as an important factor in the delivery of effective clinical care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including in dietetics and
nutrition education.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition workforce

• A trained, well-supported and resourced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition workforce is essential to deliver effective interventions.
• It is estimated that less than 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have ever trained as nutritionists and/or dietitians in Australian universities.

NACCHO Example from Nhulundu Health Service

******************** W I N ********************
A $100 GROCERY VOUCHER & TUCKA-TIME GIFT PACK

To enter simply like our page, comment a photo showing us your healthy meal and share! 🍉🍊🍓🥦🥑

Giveaway closes 5pm Friday 16/10/18. Winners will be announced on 18/10/18. You can enter as many times as you wish, good luck to everyone!

Get healthy, get cooking and get snapping

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Sugarydrinks : @BakerResearchAu Study reveals the damaging effects for inactive, young, obese people who consume soft drink regularly : What’s going on inside your veins ?

“ With lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity rising rapidly and sugar sweetened beverages the largest source of added sugars in Western diets, understanding the ‘real world’ health impact is critical in determining ‘real world’ prevention and intervention strategies,”

Professor Bronwyn Kingwell, the study’s senior author : See Baker Institute Press Release Part 1

If you did this day in, day out, your pancreas would be under considerable stress – and this is how diabetes can develop.

Having a little can of soft drink in the morning is going to have lasting effects throughout the day.”

If your diet has too much sugar in it, forcing your body to keep your insulin high all the time, eventually your cells will grow insulin-resistant. That forces the pancreas to make even more insulin, adding to its workload. Eventually, it will burn out

Professor Bronwyn Kingwell. See SMH Article Part 2 What’s going on inside your veins after you drink a soft drink

See NACCHO Nutrition ,Obesity , Sugar Tax,, Health Promotion 200 + articles published over 6 years and see our policy below

 ” 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

Press Release : Study reveals the damaging metabolic effects for inactive, young, obese people who consume soft drink regularly

We know drinking soft drink is bad for the waistline, now a study by Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute researchers provides evidence of the damaging metabolic effects on overweight and obese people who regularly consume soft drink and sit for long periods.

Researchers have quantified the detrimental effects on glucose and lipid metabolism by studying young, obese adults in a ‘real-world’ setting where up to 750ml of soft drink is consumed between meals daily and where prolonged sitting with no activity is the norm.

The results, outlined by PhD candidate Pia Varsamis in the Clinical Nutrition journal, show how habitual soft drink consumption and large periods of sedentary behaviour may set these young adults on the path to serious cardiometabolic diseases such as fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Whilst most studies to date have focused on the relationship between soft drink consumption and obesity, the large amount of added sugars contained in these drinks has additional implications beyond weight control.

Watch TV Interview

Senior author, Professor Bronwyn Kingwell, who heads up the Institute’s Metabolic and Vascular Physiology laboratory, says the acute metabolic effects of soft drink consumption and prolonged sitting identified in this latest study are cause for concern.

“With lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity rising rapidly and sugar sweetened beverages the largest source of added sugars in Western diets, understanding the ‘real world’ health impact is critical in determining ‘real world’ prevention and intervention strategies,” Professor Kingwell says.

She says this study quantified the effects of soft drink consumption compared to water on glucose and lipid metabolism in a context that was reflective of typical daily consumption levels, meal patterns and activity behaviours such as sitting for long periods.

The study, involved 28 overweight or obese adults aged 19–30 years who were habitual soft drink consumers. They participated in two separate experiments on different days drinking soft drink on one and water on the other both mid-morning and mid-afternoon during a 7-hour day of uninterrupted sitting.

Professor Kingwell says the combination of soft drink and prolonged sitting significantly elevated plasma glucose and plasma insulin, while reducing circulating triglycerides and fatty acids which indicates significant suppression of lipid metabolism, particularly in males.

She says the metabolic effects of a regular diet of soft drink combined with extended periods of sitting may contribute to the development of metabolic disease in young people who are overweight or obese, including predisposing men to an elevated risk of fatty liver disease.

“The acute metabolic effects outlined in this study are very worrying and suggest that young, overweight people who engage in this type of lifestyle are setting themselves on a path toward chronic cardiometabolic disease,” Professor Kingwell says. “This highlights significant health implications both for individuals and our healthcare system.”

Part 2 : Here’s what’s going on inside your veins after you drink a soft drink

Orginally published Here

Half an hour after finishing a can of soft drink, your blood sugar has spiked.

So you’re probably feeling pretty good. Your cells have plenty of energy, more than they need.

Maybe that soft drink had some caffeine as well, giving your central nervous system a kick, making you feel excitable, suppressing any tiredness you might have.

But a clever new study, published this week, nicely illustrates that while you’re feeling good, strange things are going on inside your blood vessels – and in the long run they are not good for you.

For this study, 28 obese or overweight young adults agreed to sit in a lab for a whole day while having their blood continuously sampled.

The volunteers ate a normal breakfast, lunch and dinner. At morning tea and afternoon tea, researchers from Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute gave them a can of soft drink.

Their blood samples revealed exactly what happened next.

Sugar from, say, a chocolate bar is released slowly, as your digestive system breaks it down.

With a can of soft drink, almost no break-down time is needed. The drink’s sugar starts to hit your bloodstream within about 30 minutes. That’s why you get such a big spike.

Your body responds to high levels of blood sugar by producing a hormone called insulin.

Insulin pumps through the bloodstream and tells your cells to suck in as much sugar as they can. The cells then start burning it, and storing what they can’t burn.

That quickly reduces the amount of sugar in the blood, and gives you a burst of energy. So far so good.

But the sugar keeps coming. High levels of blood sugar will quickly damage your blood vessels, so the body keeps making insulin.

In fact, just having two cans of soft drink meant the volunteers’ insulin stayed significantly higher than usual – all day.

After lunch, and another soft drink for afternoon tea, their sugar and insulin levels spiked again.

And, once again, over the next few hours blood sugar dropped but insulin levels stayed stubbornly high – right through to late afternoon, when the study finished.

The study demonstrates that two cans of soft drink is all it takes to give your pancreas – the crucial organ that produces insulin – a serious workout, says Professor Bronwyn Kingwell, the study’s senior author.

Watch Video 

We get more sugar each year from beverages than all the sweet treats you can think of combined.

“If you did this day in, day out, your pancreas would be under considerable stress – and this is how diabetes can develop,” says Professor Kingwell. “Having a little can of soft drink in the morning is going to have lasting effects throughout the day.”

If your diet has too much sugar in it, forcing your body to keep your insulin high all the time, eventually your cells will grow insulin-resistant. That forces the pancreas to make even more insulin, adding to its workload. Eventually, it will burn out.

But something else interesting is happening inside your body as well.

Insulin tells your body to burn sugar. But it also tells it to stop burning fat.

Normally, the body burns a little bit of both at once. But after a soft drink, your insulin stays high all day – so you won’t burn much fat, whether you’re on a diet or not.

One of the study’s participants, Michelle Kneipp, is now trying as hard as she can to kick her soft-drink habit.

She’s switched soft drinks for flavoured sparkling water. “It still tastes like soft drink, and it’s still got the fizz,” she says.

“But it’s hard, because sugar’s a very addictive substance.”