Preventive health policy welcomed

Media Release

20 June 2016

Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes Labor’s prevention policy announcement focussing on tackling chronic diseases by addressing the common modifiable risk factors, including physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and poor nutrition.

Labor’s five-point plan for healthy communities and chronic disease prevention includes $300 million over four years to:

  1. Invest in 50 healthy communities nationwide, to help communities at greatest risk of chronic disease to stay well
  2. Tackle obesity through Australia’s first National Physical Activity Strategy and a National Nutrition Framework
  3. Expand the Better Health Channel into a nationwide platform for health information
  4. Continue to reduce smoking rates
  5. Address harmful use of alcohol through a National Alcohol Strategy.

Alzheimer’s Australia National CEO Carol Bennett said this very positive commitment to preventive health will have an impact on the many Australians at risk of, or in the early stages of dementia. It also reflects a commitment to the actions outlined in the election platform put forward by Prevention 1st.

“Dementia is one of the most significant chronic conditions of our time, it currently affects 353,800 Australians1 and there are at least one million people involved in their care. People often assume dementia is a normal part of ageing and don’t realise there are things you can do to reduce your risk.

“Investing in preventive health will go a long way towards raising awareness of the risk factors associated with dementia, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, smoking and physical inactivity, which also apply to many of the other chronic conditions,” Ms Bennett said.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) recent Burden of Disease Report, indicated almost one third of the overall burden of disease can be prevented by removing exposure to risk factors2.

“The total direct health and aged care system expenditure on people with dementia is at least $4.9 billion3 and dementia will become the third greatest source of health and residential aged care spending within two decades.

“These costs alone will be around 1% of GDP4.  There is both a social and economic imperative to invest in preventive health to address the increasing burden of cost and to ensure Australians are healthier into the future,” Ms Bennett said.


1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia
2 http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129555476
3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia
4 Access Economics (2009) Keeping Dementia Front of Mind: Incidence and prevalence 2009-2050. Report for Alzheimer’s Australia

 

Media enquiries:
Bianca Armytage | 0407 019 430 | bianca.armytage@alzheimers.org.au


Alzheimer’s Australia is the peak body representing people with dementia and their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. More than 353,800 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than half a million by 2030.


National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500
An interpreter service is available
(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)
Dementia is a National Health Priority Area


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