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West Moreton Oxley health is among worst in Australia

West Moreton Oxley Medicare Local CEO Sue Scheinpflug launches their Comprehensive Needs Assessment with report authors Luke Passfield (left) and Dr Remo Ostini (right).
West Moreton Oxley Medicare Local CEO Sue Scheinpflug launches their Comprehensive Needs Assessment with report authors Luke Passfield (left) and Dr Remo Ostini (right). Derek Barry

A COMPREHENSIVE study of the region's health has revealed some shocking findings including some of the worst diet, and highest levels of obesity and alcohol consumption in Australia.

West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local (WMOML) which covers Ipswich, Lockyer Valley and parts of west Brisbane, Somerset and the Scenic Rim, released its Comprehensive Needs Assessment 2014-2015 today which CEO Sue Scheinpflug called a "strong foundation" to improve the health and wellbeing of the community.

But a lot of work is required to get there with WMOML's population being among the least wealthiest in the country but high in risk factors such as poor diet and levels of smoking, obesity, inactivity and alcohol consumption.

The report found an astonishing three out of every five people in the region have one of those risk factors, with over 70% considered overweight and almost 40% "obese".

The report said the suburbs with the highest risk factors were Laidley, Inala/Richlands, Ipswich Central, Darra and Esk.

To add to the problem, the population is expected to almost double by 2031 with most of the growth in the Ripley, Rosewood and eastern Ipswich areas.

Ms Scheinpflug said WMOML would work with health care partners to target funding in the nine health areas of greatest need. 

"These are obesity and mental health, child development, chronic diseases, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, health services for people with a disability, health services for refugees, service coordination, and integration and population growth," she said.

Ms Scheinpflug said the Federally-funded Medicare Locals would be replaced in 2015 by Primary Health Networks which would service a larger area but the report would still be useful.

"The findings in this report will provide an important foundation to the PHN responsible for improving primary care services across the West Moreton Oxley region," she said.

Topics:  health, lockyer valley, medicare local


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