Bad health habits are costing us

26 Jun 2014

The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report Australia's Health 2014 identifies that lifestyle-related chronic diseases are taking an increasing toll on the nation's health and significantly adding to the cost of health.

Chronic disease is the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia. In 2011, chronic disease accounted for 90% of all deaths in Australia.

The greatest contributory causes for chronic disease are smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and harmful use of alcohol. Which can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, which in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and mental health issues.

The World Health Organization estimates that, worldwide, up to 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and up to one-third of cancers could be prevented by eliminating smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol.

The AMA believes that current chronic disease management items could be improved to better support GPs in the provision of GP-led and coordinated multidisciplinary care. In addition, the AMA supports a more pro-active approach to coordinated management of patients with chronic and complex disease.  The AMA Chronic Disease Plan: Improving Care for Patients with Chronic and Complex Care Needs – Revised 2012 outlines arrangements that would better support GPs to provide patients with chronic and complex disease with access to multidisciplinary care and essential support services.  It offers a simple yet comprehensive and affordable plan that will have benefits across the health system.

Furthermore, the AMA Family Doctor Week 2014 theme Your family doctor: Keeping you healthy will focus on the important role that GPs play in preventative health care.  Throughout this year’s Family Doctor Week the AMA will be highlighting to the community the importance of being proactive about preventative health and the vital role of the family doctor in helping patients to minimise their risks of disease, identifying and treating any problems early, better managing existing conditions and in helping them stay healthier for longer.