Prevention focus good for the future

The Stroke Foundation has applauded the announcement of a long-awaited National Preventative Health Strategy, claiming it has the potential to ease the country’s stroke and chronic disease burden.

Australian Health Minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP revealed the Australian Government would develop a long-term strategy, investing in prevention interventions that work.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said stroke was a highly preventable disease and this strategy was a positive step forward in helping to save lives and reduce unnecessary disability as a result of stroke.

“There will be more than 56,000 strokes in Australia this year. Frighteningly, that number continues to rise largely due to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle,” Ms McGowan said.

“Without action now, the Australian community will experience more than 132,000 strokes a year by 2050, but it does not need to be that way.

“An investment in prevention will help more Australians live well, reduce their risk of stroke and avoidable hospital admissions.”

Research tells us that more than 80 per cent of strokes can be prevented by managing blood pressure and cholesterol and living a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, not smoking and only drinking alcohol in moderation.

Ms McGowan said Stroke Foundation and fellow health groups had long called for government recognition of the value of prevention programs to help more Australians live long and healthy lives.

“Investment in prevention today generates health dividends tomorrow and into the future,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“Research shows that for every dollar invested in prevention within Australia there is a return of $14, in addition to the return of the original investment, back to the wider health and social economy.

“The Stroke Foundation looks forward to working with the Government to prevent stroke and reduce the burden of chronic disease on our community.”

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