Source: The Australian, Friday 13 September, 1996, p.3
THEY may have sun, sand and surf but Queenslanders fall short when it comes to a long life. A comprehensive survey of health in the Sunshine State released yesterday reveals alarming rates of mortality for both infants and adults. Queensland has the second highest mortality rate for road accidents, suicide and ischaemic heart disease, as well as topping the nation with the highest rate of accidental death for children 14 years and under. The image of fit, bronzed Queens- landers also took a battering in the report, carried out by the Queens- land Health Department and covering the period 1991 to 1994. The State has the second highest rate of physical inactivity and the number of overweight and obese people is increasing above the national average. Melanoma rates remain the highest in the world, with present trends indicating the incidence is likely to increase each year. Overall life expectancy in Queensland is below the Australian average, with perinatal and infant mortality rates above the national average. Pool drownings remain high, with the rate now increasing despite a decline after new fencing laws were introduced in 1991. And the State has the second highest rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Of the States and Territories, Queensland has the second lowest rate of immunisation. The health of Queensland's indigenous communities also remains poor, the report concludes, with no real improvements in adult mortality over the five years to 1994. Mortality rates are more than three times that for the general population. The Minister for Health, Mr Horan, said the Government was facing a mayor challenge to improve Queenslanders' life expectancy. The report found Queensland's mortality rate for all causes is 4 cent higher than the average, while West- ern Australia had the lowest. -SCOTT EMERSON
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