Suburb rivalry could be considered a tradition in Queensland. The battle between north and south goes back generations and disagreements can turn ugly quickly. This is much like the banter between blues and maroons supporters when there’s 10 minutes left in a State of Origin decider.
Now there’s another benchmark to squabble over in the suburb debate – health. Victoria University and Torrens University have developed an online tool which uses data to track Australia’s healthiest areas by postcode.
It assesses the health of Australians in relation to chronic diseases and their risk factors. It also provides report cards for each locality.
Public health expert, Professor Maximillian de Courten, told Nine News one pattern that has emerged from the tracker is that “wealthier postcodes are healthier postcodes”.
“There is a social gradient when it comes to Australia’s biggest killers like cancers, heart diseases and stroke and their risk factors like smoking and obesity,” he said.
Queensland has the country’s highest obesity rates
The sunshine state tops the table when it come to obesity rates. It is shown that more than 30 per cent of Queenslanders fall into the obese category. The national rate is 27.9 per cent.
According to the health tracker Indooroopilly, Taringa, St Lucia, Auchenflower and Toowong have the lowest rates of obesity in the state – less than 15.5 per cent of residents there are considered obese.
Meanwhile, Ipswich, Gympie, Slacks Creek, Warwick and several of Toowoomba’s northern suburbs are among the areas with the highest obesity rates. Statistics show that more than 37 per cent of residents there are considered obese.
Health tracker will help Australia reach 2025 health targets
The health tracker was built by a collaboration of public health and chronic disease organisations and experts.
They set health targets “to support, guide and track progress towards a substantial change” in the nation’s overall health. This is guided by the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.
One of the organisations was the Australian Health Policy Collaboration. Its director Rosemary Calder explained to Australian Associated Press the data will be used to help reduce “alarming rates” of chronic diseases by 2025.
“One in every two Australians has a chronic disease, however roughly one third of these diseases are preventable,” Ms Calder said.
“Australia’s Health Tracker by Area is a call to action and a resource to help protect the most important asset in the country, our health.”
One of the most ambitious targets is related to smoking. The data reveals 12.8 per cent of Australians aged over 14 are daily smokers. The goal is to reduce that figure to 5 per cent in less than a decade.
Other nation-wide targets include:
- Reducing obesity from 27.9 to 24.6 per cent
- Reducing high blood pressure from 23 to 16.1 per cent
- Drinking at “risky levels” reduced from 18.2 to 16.1 per cent
- High cholesterol reduced from 32.8 to 24.6 per cent.