Hundreds of preventable deaths raise health alarm

THE West Moreton region recorded more than 500 preventable deaths attributed to leading an unhealthy lifestyle, according to a Medicare Local report.

Statistics released in a Medicare Local report found West Moreton had a higher rate of preventable deaths than in Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

Health officials said the deaths could have been avoided by screening, better eating habits, exercise and proper medical treatment.

The West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local region recorded 65 preventable deaths per 100,000 people.

Brisbane Metro North recorded 55 per 100,000, with Brisbane Metro South 57, the Gold Coast with 53 and Sunshine Coast with 50.

Medicare Local CEO Sue Scheinpflug said there were a number of reasons for the high rate of chronic diseases.

"Research shows that factors such as low socio-economics, type of employment and levels of education all contribute to the health of an individual. That's why WMOML uses evidence to target where health services are needed the most," she said.

Ms Scheinpflug said the region was in the top 20% of all regions in Australia for having the highest potentially avoidable death rates for women and in the top 30% of regions for having the highest potentially avoidable death rates for men.

"There is always more that can be done. We know that the promotion about the risks of smoking has contributed to a fall of 28% in people 15 years and above. Currently Australia is facing an obesity crisis and a significant rise in type II diabetes." West Moreton Hospital and Health Board CEO Lesley Dwyer said the service's goal was to assist the community to make better lifestyle choices.

"We can achieve this by providing information to enable residents to better understand their health care needs and options," she said.

"By working with the Medicare Local, we can improve access to primary healthcare services in the community."