Loading slideshow

Poor lifestyle choices increase WA healthcare costs by $900m

Regina Titelius | PerthNow

February 5, 2018 10:41AM

WEST Australians making poor lifestyle choices are driving up healthcare costs, with chronic diseases that could be avoided adding almost $900 million a year.  

The latest figures from WA Health show bad lifestyles are contributing to a sick State, with the total hospital bill for “potentially preventable” chronic diseases reaching $868.9 million.

This is just the cost for hospital care, which involved 223,788 cases.

The risky lifestyle choices include smoking.

The risky lifestyle choices include smoking, excess drinking, overeating, bad diets of high sugar and fat, laziness and drug use.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook is aiming to address the growing crisis of obesity and alcohol abuse at the State’s inaugural Preventive Health Summit, to be held on March 2. It will bring together 150 key health promotion and public health specialists.

Mr Cook said the Ted-Talk-style summit would “explore and initiate new measures that can stem and reverse alarming trends associated with obesity and use of alcohol in WA”.

“About 31 per cent of the burden of chronic disease in Australia could be prevented if less people were overweight and here in WA we have a growing obesity epidemic which needs to be turned around,” he said.

Coronary heart disease, chronic kidney disease and osteoarthritis were the top three diseases and accounted for over half of the cost of preventable chronic diseases in the latest figures for 2016.

WA Health’s chronic disease prevention director Denise Sullivan said diseases such as stroke, cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are “set to become more common”.

“While the majority of West Australians generally have good health, there are many improvements that could be made to ensure we all live longer, healthier lives,” she said.

One of the summit’s keynote speakers, Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager, Jane Martin, said WA needed to continue fighting for federal politicians to introduce a tax on sugary drinks, restrict adverts for unhealthy food and drink to children, and have harder-hitting education.

“This is a very serious issue and it’s not getting the attention that it deserves at a national level,” she said.

Read the full article by clicking here 

living well with arthritis
Free Information Booklets