The Wide Bay Burnett is among Australia’s top 10 hotspots for high blood pressure and physical inactivity, new statistics have revealed. File Photo.
The Wide Bay Burnett is among Australia’s top 10 hotspots for high blood pressure and physical inactivity, new statistics have revealed. File Photo.

HEARTBREAKING: Burnett heart health in dire straights

THE Wide Bay Burnett region is among Australia's top 10 hotspots for high blood pressure and physical inactivity, putting residents at high risk of poor heart health, a new statistics have confirmed.

New Australian Heart Maps figures show a city-country divide, which persists across rates of heart disease deaths, hospitalisations, and risk factors. The heart disease death rate in the Wide Bay region, including the North Burnett, South Burnett, Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Gympie, and Cherbourg is 78.6 per 100,000 people - a shocking 10% above the state average.

Key risk factor figures for Wide Bay Burnett region include:

  • 23.8% of adults have high blood pressure
  • Almost three in four are not physically active enough
  • 35.6% are obese
  • Just under 20% smoke

The Sunshine State dominates Australia's top 10 least physically active regions - and the places with some of the nation's lowest exercise rates are all in regional Queensland.

Echoing a nationwide trend, levels of obesity, high blood pressure, inactivity and smoking are worse across the board for regional Queenslanders compared to their big city cousins.

The new maps confirm regional Queensland is home to seven of the 10 least active regions in the country, and half of Australia's top 10 high blood pressure hotspots.

Australia's top 10 physical inactivity hotspots

  1. Sydney - South West (NSW)
  2. Logan-Beaudesert (QLD)
  3. Ipswich (QLD)
  4. Darling Downs-Maranoa (QLD)
  5. Wide Bay (QLD)
  6. Sydney - Blacktown (NSW)
  7. Central Queensland (QLD)
  8. Adelaide - North (SA)
  9. Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday (QLD)
  10. Moreton Bay-North (QLD)

Australia's top 10 high blood pressure hotspots

  1. Central Queensland (QLD)
  2. Hunter Valley exc Newcastle (NSW)
  3. Sydney - Parramatta (NSW)
  4. Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday (QLD)
  5. Townsville (QLD)
  6. Wide Bay (QLD)
  7. Western Australia - Outback (South) (WA)
  8. Illawarra (NSW)
  9. Shepparton (VIC)
  10. Toowoomba (QLD)

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO, Stephen Vines, says the results highlight a great divide in heart health across some communities.

"This paints a grim picture of how Australia's single biggest killer continues to stalk the Sunshine State, and the heart health gaps that exist depending on where you call home," Mr Vines said.

"It's no coincidence that regions with the highest rates of heart disease are also likely to be the most disadvantaged areas. Unsurprisingly, we are seeing alarming rates of obesity and physical inactivity in these hotspots, which have huge implications for residents' future heart health.

"It's equally concerning to see Queensland regions have some of the worst rates of high blood pressure - a condition that can be silent yet puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke."

Almost all the hardest-hit regions for deaths are outside metro areas, except for Brisbane South, which ranks third. Queensland's top 10 for hospitalisations are all in regional or rural areas.

Mr Vines said all Queenslanders deserve to live a full and healthy life, no matter where they live.

"The Heart Foundation is committed to bringing these numbers down and improving the heart health of all Queenslanders," he said.

"These maps illustrate which parts of the state are in greatest need of heart health services and investment, and we urge the Queensland Government to step up measures to tackle these gaps.

"We also implore Queenslanders to take action to protect their heart health - if you're 45 and over, or from age 30 if you're Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, talk to your GP about having a Heart Health Check."