Hope for a healthier Australia

Stroke Foundation has today welcomed the Federal Labor Party’s commitment, if elected, to a $115.6 million investment to promote health and prevent disease.

The preventative health package includes actions to address obesity, smoking and alcohol use – all factors contributing to rising incidence of stroke. The package also includes targeted activities addressing stroke and preventable disease risk in regional Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and vulnerable communities.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan welcomed this investment in the future health and quality of life of millions of Australians.

“Stroke is a devastating disease and its impact on individuals and families continues to rise as our population grows, ages and our life-style becomes more sedentary,” Ms McGowan said.

“There are 56,000 strokes each year in Australia – that is one every nine minutes. Disturbingly, we are on track for one stroke every four minutes by 2050 unless we take action now to reduce our risk factors.”

Ms McGowan said around 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

“Obesity, smoking and alcohol use all contribute to high blood pressure which is the highest risk factor for stroke. If high blood pressure alone was eliminated, it is estimated the number of strokes could be cut in half,” she said.

“Australians must be empowered to be healthier.

“Prevention is a long term-investment and it needs a united Government commitment. I call on all parties to come together and support action on stroke and preventable disease, for Australians now and into the future.”

Today’s announcements are reflective of gaps identified in the development of the National Action Plan for Heart Disease and Stroke. Funded by the Federal Government, Stroke Foundation is partnering with Heart Foundation to deliver the plan.

Building on today’s announcement, Stroke Foundation is calling for the establishment of a national community health check program by the next Australian Government. The program will support all Australians, including those from high risk and vulnerable populations, to engage in conversations about their health through active participation in chronic disease risk assessments.

“Stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes share many modifiable risk factors,” Ms McGowan said.

“Delivery of opportunistic health checks supported by an evidence-based lifestyle modification program will enable Australians to identify their stroke and chronic disease risk and manage it.”

For more on Stroke Foundation’s election platform No stroke untreated: A fairer health system, delivering all Australians the opportunity to survive and live well after stroke.

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