Heart Foundation applauds Government’s commitment to preventive health

Heart Foundation Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, today welcomed the Federal Government’s renewed commitment to preventive health, announced by Minister for Health Greg Hunt yesterday at the National Press Club.

“This is a vision for Australia’s long-term health that includes a significant focus on prevention and strong opportunities to improve Australia’s heart health,” Professor Kelly said.

“The goal of bringing down smoking rates is particularly encouraging, as it will focus on evidence-based strategies that are known to work and concentrate efforts on Indigenous communities, some of whom have the highest daily smoking rates in the country.

“It’s also very encouraging to see a commitment to wipe out rheumatic heart disease by 2030 and strategies to support Australians with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, to prevent avoidable hospitalisations.”

The Government will aim to bring down the rate of those who smoke from 13.8 per cent to under 10 per cent by 2025 – a 28 per cent reduction.

The broader 10-year health plan outlines a vision for a health system that rates mental health equally with physical health, with strategies for improving the mental health of Australian children under 12.

To inform the plan, the Government is commissioning a multi-year study of more than 60,000 people from 2020. The Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study will provide an unprecedented opportunity to measure the real state of Australians’ health, including the prevalence of health conditions and risk factors.

The study will incorporate the National Health Study, the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Study, the National Health Measures Study and the National Study of Mental Health and Well-being.

“These commitments reflect a long-term vision to support the prevention of chronic disease in Australia. We look forward to working with Government to deliver significant gains for preventative health now and for generations to come,” Professor Kelly said.