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Australians in remote areas are more likely to die of heart disease

Rural dwelling Australians more likely to die of h
Photo: Heart disease higher outside the city
Australians living in regional and remote areas are more likely to suffer from heart disease than their city-dwelling counterparts.

Australians living in very remote locations are more than 50 per cent more likely to die of heart disease than those living in capital cities.

And people living in the most disadvantaged areas in the country are nearly twice as likely to be hospitalised for a heart attack as counterparts from privileged areas.

These are just two of the findings from new figures released by the Heart Foundation on Tuesday.

They show that a person's address and wealth determine much of their heart health, the foundation says.
The numbers are contained in the organisation's Australian Heart Maps, which show where heart-related deaths and hospital admissions happen, and which places have high heart-related risk factors like smoking, physical inactivity and hypertension.

"The results show there's a great divide in heart health across some communities, and people in regional, rural and remote areas are faring worse than big city dwellers," Heart Foundation, CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly, said in a statement.

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

Heart disease red flags, like obesity rates and lack of exercise, are worse in regional Australia. All top ten obesity hotspots identified by the Heart Foundation are in regional or rural locations.

Among the most shocking disparities is that between the Northern Territory Outback and Sydney's well-off northern Sydney.

Heart disease death rates are almost two and a half times higher in the former.

The Heart Foundation says it is committed to addressing the disproportionately high rates of heart disease in regional and rural Australia.

"These maps illustrate which parts of the country are in the greatest need of heart health services and investment, and we urge governments at all levels to step up measures to turn these statistics around. All Australians should be able to live a full and healthy life, no matter where they live," Professor Kelly said.

"We also implore everyone 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."

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