Lifestyle factors underestimated in chronic health issues.

GRAVE FIGURES: Poor cardio health is claiming the lives of more Tamworth people than any other disease. Photo: Gareth Gardner 090818GGC01
GRAVE FIGURES: Poor cardio health is claiming the lives of more Tamworth people than any other disease. Photo: Gareth Gardner 090818GGC01

IT’S hoped new figures highlighting poor cardio health leading to death in Tamworth will help people recognise the links to lifestyle and chronic disease.

A report released this week revealed heart disease and strokes as the top-two killers in the Tamworth Regional Council area since 2012, contributing to nearly a quarter of all deaths in that time.

According to figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), heart disease accounted for more than 15 per cent of deaths in Tamworth.

The rate of coronary related deaths in the region was 31 per cent higher than the national average.

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Strokes, dementia, lung cancer and pulmonary diseases accounted for the rest of the five most deadly diseases in the region between 2012 and 2016.

Heart Foundation spokeswoman Penny Milson said while the region’s most deadly diseases could be linked to lifestyle, there was a number of factors at play.

“People in our area struggle to get access to specialist services they need,” Ms Milson said.

“But people need to recognise the lifestyle factors that contribute to chronic disease and what steps they can take to reduce risks.

“They have more control than they realise and underestimate the value of physical activity in terms of prevention.”

She said it was hard to pinpoint what led to the region’s grave health figures, but was hopeful they could be swung in a better direction.

“We’re getting greater awareness and working with council to create neighbourhoods that support healthier lifetstyles,” she said.

“We know things like trees, walkaways, cycle-ways, water fountains and smoke-free zones support that.”

The AIHW data show the median age of Australians who died between 2012 and 2016 was 78 for men and 84 for women.

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