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Fixin' Healthcare

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's A Start

The Australian Commonwealth Government recently launched a preventive health program to encourage doctors to advise patients on how to change lifestyles to improve their health. The Lifescripts Program shifts the emphasis in primary health care from management of illness and disease to health promotion and disease prevention.

The targets are five lifestyle risk factors that are very common in Australia - smoking, poor nutrition, risky alcohol use , physical inactivity and excess weight. Together they comprise the largest group of preventable risk factors for death in Australia.

A person who has more than one of these risk factors has a higher likelihood of developing chronic health disorders such as diabetes, stroke, mantal illness or heart disease. Among patients visiting a general practice in 2002-2003 more than half were overweight, more than a quarter drank at levels considered to be risky, 17 percent were daily smokers and two-thirds were physically inactive.

There is strong evidence that positive lifestyle changes can significantly improve a person's health. Good advice from a doctor can help a person change an unhealthy lifestyle. It's a start and it certainly can't hurt.

Next we will consider the trend in America for boutique doctors.

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