The largest ever investigation into Victoria’s health has delivered a groundbreaking insight into the growing rate of chronic disease and its link to unhealthy lifestyles.
Minister for Health David Davis today officially launched two reports from the Victorian Health Monitor at the Heart Foundation in Melbourne.
The major investigation saw more than 3600 adult Victorians recruited from 50 neighbourhoods from metropolitan Melbourne and rural Victoria to undertake a survey and provide blood samples, as well as height and weight and blood pressure measurements.
The Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute carried out the research, undertaking fieldwork between April 2009 and June 2010, and has now produced these research reports.
“The Victorian Health Monitor – the first study of its kind in Australia – delivers a unique and in-depth snapshot into the health and wellbeing of Victorians, as well as our eating habits,” Mr Davis said.
“This is the most significant research ever undertaken into Victoria’s health and will guide our plans to address the rising prevalence of lifestyle-related chronic disease.”
The Victorian Health Monitor provides estimates of the prevalence of chronic diseases and associated biomedical, nutritional and life-style related risk factors in the Victorian population.
Mr Davis said this included data on rates of heart disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, which together account for about one quarter of the burden of disease in Victoria.
“It also provides information on modifiable chronic disease risk factors, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidaemia and hypertension,” Mr Davis said.
“For the first time ever we have collected information on elevated blood lead levels and Vitamin D deficiency.
“The report shows some pleasing results for Victoria, including an increase in the detection of diabetes since 1999, which is consistent with increases in screening activities and awareness of the disease,” Mr Davis said.
It also shows that:
- about one in 20 adult Victorians have diabetes;
- one in four adults are obese and 62.6 per cent are overweight or obese;
- one in four adults have high blood pressure, with men at greater risk;
- less than one per cent of adults have elevated levels of blood lead;
- two out of every five adult Victorians are vitamin D deficient;
- vegetable consumption has decreased since 1995, but we are eating more fruit;
- we eat far too much sodium and about a third of the fat we consume is saturated fat – the bad fat; and
- Seven out of ten (69 per cent) of adults are not undertaking sufficient physical activity to meet national guidelines.
The second report launched today contains information from the food and nutrition component of the Victorian Health Monitor survey.
“This is the first time food and nutrition information has been collected at the state level since the 1995 National Nutrition Survey was conducted,” Mr Davis said.
Mr Davis said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to initiatives that encourage all Victorians to live active and healthy lifestyles and tackle chronic disease and obesity.
“This includes the Prevention Community Model which is designed to address the preventable causes of chronic disease and improve people’s health where they live, learn, work and play,” Mr Davis said.
“We are supporting a range of food and nutrition initiatives through the Victorian Healthy Eating Enterprise, including the new Victorian Healthy Eating Advisory Service, which will provide healthy eating and nutrition advice to early childhood services, primary and secondary schools, hospitals and workplaces.”