Source: The Australian, Friday 13 September, 1996, p.3


The price of living it up in Qld

   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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