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Making Health Better
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Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) has developed partnerships with key health industry organisations to develop and deliver education events regarding obesity and chronic disease prevention, in response to concerning obesity and chronic disease rates in the Mackay region.

A recent Progress in Australian Regions data report, released by the Cancer Council Queensland, indicated that 83.4 per cent of the Mackay population is overweight or obese, resulting in increased risk of chronic disease in the region.

In response to the report, NQPHN has partnered with Diabetes Queensland, the Heart Foundation, Mackay Institute of Research and Innovation (MIRI), and Mackay Hospital and Health Service to develop primary healthcare education events to discuss prevention, management, and early detection of obesity and chronic disease.

One of these education events, being held tonight in partnership with Diabetes Queensland and the Heart Foundation, will see Mater Health Services North Queensland Director of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Dr Kunwarjit Sangla, discuss the important role general practice plays in diagnosing and actively managing obese and diabetic patients.

This event will also cover aspects of prevention and early intervention using Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed (DESMOND), SMARTS, and My Health for Life education and early intervention programs.

NQPHN Mackay General Manager Karin Barron says NQPHN is building relationships with key stakeholders to enable GPs to better assist patients to improve both obesity and chronic disease rates in the region.

“Our region reports high numbers of overweight and obese adults and children, which is likely to increase rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other health risks,” Ms Barron says.

“General practice plays an important role in the management of obesity and chronic disease within our region.

“By working in collaboration with key stakeholders, we are increasing the capacity for health providers to further develop their knowledge and skills around managing obesity and chronic disease, including prevention and early intervention.

“We are excited to showcase the DESMOND training program, which is currently unavailable to GPs in our region, as part of the NQPHN initiative to bring the program permanently to Mackay.

“The aim of these education events is to increase knowledge and skills on how obesity and chronic disease such as type two diabetes are managed, and to promote a preventative approach that targets healthy eating and exercise to improve quality of life for northern Queenslanders.”

Later in the month, Exercise is Medicine Australia will also be presenting a two hour workshop to GPs, nurses, and other allied health professionals, detailing the role physical activity and a healthy lifestyle play in the prevention and management of chronic disease.

NQPHN is also a proud supporter of MIRI’s Let’s Shape Up campaign, encouraging community and organisations to ‘inspire your tribe’ to make bite sized changes to reduce the weight of the Mackay community, identify people at risk of type 2 diabetes, and engage with leaders across the region to help drive healthy changes and assist northern Queenslanders live happier, healthier, and longer lives.