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Preventative medicine is vital

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Federal Shadow Minister for Health Dr Bob Woods has applauded the Health initiative " Know Your Heart" campaign launched by the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia health care fund.

" The startling and sad statistics that indicate that more than 40,000 Australians die each year from heart related diseases are the reason why preventative medicine campaigns like " Know Your H e a rt" are so important ".said Dr Woods.

" It is vital that people become medically aware of their bodies and correct improper eating habitsr increase their exercise and monitor their stress levels. The blood pressure, cholesterol, nutrition, stress, fitness levels and other lifestyle habits assessed during the "Know Your Heart" assessment offered by MBF make the assessment an excellent starting point for people who want to take control of their lives and attempt to prevent the onset of illness.

More than half of the population who die from heart disease are men. It is therefore appropriate that the advertisements in the campaign are targeted towards us. It is unfortunate that many of us fail to act on the advice of our doctors that heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle and dietary changes, until it is too late.

Prevention is an attitude which must be fostered throughout the community. The future benefits to be gained by preventing ill health now, are enormous. Not only will it, reduce illness to the individual but it will reduce the social costs to the community and the financial costs to

Government and community organisations. _

As a former cancer specialist and as Shadow Minister for Health I am delighted that MBF have taken such a responsible position and I note that this campaign is a follow up to their Breast Health Campaign which encouraged women to undergo regular mammography screening.

While the National Heart Foundation does an excellent job in its campaigns it is refreshing to see private health funds also taking the initiative.

With the startling statistics that indicate that there will have been nearly a 50% increase in the number of people aged 65 years and over by the year 2001, it is obvious heart disease will become an even greater concern than it is now,

I applaud this initiative by MBF and look forward to other health and community organisations, and the State and Commonwealth Governments, following suit."

For further information contact; Dr Bob Woods or Leisa O'Connor (02) 745 3200. After hours Dr Woods (02) 744 1872. Leisa O'Connor (02) 797 6233