Warren Lynam

Warwick’s full of hot air

THE region has been ranked among the worst in the state for the number of smokers risking their health.

The chief health officer's report released on Wednesday showed the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service, which includes Warwick, had a 26% higher rate of smokers compared to the state average. Figures showed about 17% of the Darling Downs population smoked.

The health report ranked the area among the worst four areas in Queensland for smoking, along with Cape York, the Central West and Wide Bay. Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Shaun Rudd said this could have contributed to another startling figure for the area which showed higher rates of people dying from cardiovascular disease.

"The lungs and the heart are completely connected to each other," he said.

"Smoking increases your heart risk because of a problem with the coronary arteries."

The number of people dying in the Darling Downs region from cardiovascular disease is 11% higher than the state average.

Cancer was 2% lower than the state average.

Dr Rudd said sometimes cardiovascular disease could not be prevented, because it could run in a family or develop with age.

But he said many of the Darling Downs health problems listed in the report were preventable.

"Everybody has a risk," he said.

"The reality is you have to die from something.

"But you can change your lifestyle. Obesity, alcohol and smoking are risk factors."

Dr Rudd said these health issues came down to the area's social demographics.

"Lifestyle determines where you end up," he said.

"If you don't have any money you tend to make poor choices, you tend to smoke and drink alcohol and buy inappropriate foods. And you obviously end up more overweight and more unhealthy and likely to have cardiovascular disease."

The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service was contacted for comment but was not able to respond in time.

DARLING DOWNS

 27% of population obese, which is 18% higher than state average

 26% higher smoking rates than state average

 9% of hospitalisations were preventable

 25% of deaths avoidable

 Median age of death 80 years old

 For indigenous Australians, median age of death is 58 years old



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