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A warning against heart disease complacency in 2016

Although death from heart disease in Australia continues to decrease, we cannot rest on our laurels. The greatest barrier to reducing the social and economic toll of heart disease has been complacency. As a nation, we have dropped the ball. It’s time to think again.

Heart disease continues to result in more Australian deaths than any other single cause, and remains the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It continues to place a heavy burden on our already stretched health system, demanding the highest expenditure for any individual disease group at $7.7 billion in 2008–09 (http://www.aihw.gov.au/australias-health/2014/health-system).

Most Australians are either sedentary or engage in low levels of physical activity. Obesity among adults has almost tripled in the last two decades (http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442459497). Our ageing community, and the success in treating previously fatal heart conditions, means more people are living with heart diseases.

The devastating impact of inaction will see the number of adults with obesity double to 41% by 2031–32, and cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are estimated to cost the government $58 billion if…