I am
Distance, disadvantage lead to WA heart health divide: new data
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Distance, disadvantage lead to WA heart health divide: new data

Media Release - 01 December 2020

West Australians living in the outback regions of the Kimberley and Pilbara are among those who are twice as likely to be hospitalised for heart attack compared with their regional and city counterparts, highlighting the growing heart health divide in the nation’s largest state.

New Australian Heart Maps figures, released today by the Heart Foundation, paint a picture of an alarming rural, regional and city divide, with people living in WA’s outback experiencing greater rates of heart disease deaths, hospitalisations and risk factors compared with their city peers.

West Australians living in the northern outback including in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised for heart attack compared with their counterparts in the Wheatbelt, Bunbury and inner-city Perth regions.

Heart Disease deaths in outback WA, including Greater Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Karratha, and Broome are 40% higher compared to the south west region of Perth.

Heart Foundation CEO WA, Sarah Fordham, said the figures show that distance and disadvantage are responsible for some of the biggest heart health gaps in the state

These maps help us understand the areas that are in the greatest need of healthcare services and investment, and we hope the WA Government will support us in addressing these figures and the causes that contribute to them,” Ms Fordham said.

“We need to look at ways to bridge these gaps in healthcare and address the lack of knowledge and awareness that can contribute to poor heart health.

“Too often we hear that people don’t realise anything is wrong until they end up in hospital with a heart attack. The fact is that heart disease is relevant to everyone – it’s our single biggest killer.”

Western Australia’s outback and regional areas also fare worse than city spots when it comes to some heart disease risk factors.

Smoking rates in the outback south region of WA are the second highest in the country and twice as high as in the inner-city suburbs of Perth, while Bunbury and the Wheatbelt have obesity rates that are close to 70% higher than those in metropolitan Perth.

While the greatest divides in heart health are seen between WA’s outback and metropolitan regions, there are some stark disparities in Perth’s city areas.

Deaths from heart disease in Perth’s north east areas including the cities of Swan, Bayswater, Kalamanda and Belmont, are 30% higher than those in the south west of Perth – including the cities of Rockingham, Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville.

The number of smokers in Perth’s north east is 60% higher and with obesity levels nearly 50% higher compared to those in the inner-city suburbs of Perth.

People are hospitalised for heart conditions in south east Perth including in the -shire of Gosnells and Canning at a rate that is 24% higher than those living in Perth’s inner suburbs. 

There are many ways to prevent or interrupt the journey to heart disease if risk factors are picked up early and if people understand what to do to improve their heart health,” Ms Fordham said.

“We’re urging all West Australians to understand their risk of heart disease so they can take action to reduce it and the best way to do this is to have a Heart Health Check.

“If you’re 45 and over, or 30 and over if you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, talk to your GP about having a Heart Health Check covered by Medicare.”

Media enquiries

Emily Goddard, Media Advisor
M: 0439 609 243 E: Emily.Goddard@heartfoundation.org.au

Looking for that perfect gift?

Looking for that perfect gift?

Looking for that perfect gift?

Make a donation to our Christmas Appeal on behalf of a family member or a loved one and receive a personalised eCard to let them know....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Christmas Appeal

Christmas Appeal

Christmas Appeal

Make a donation to our Christmas Appeal on behalf of a family member or a loved one and receive a personalised eCard to let them know....

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

This test can help your doctor determine if there is anything wrong with your heart....

Cardiac rehabilitation resources for healthcare providers

Cardiac rehabilitation resources for healthcare providers

Useful cardiac rehabilitation resources for health professionals....

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

Media release - 3 June 2021...

Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Serves Makes 350g | (Serves 8 – about 2 tablespoons - 44g)

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Find heart healthy festive recipes. ...

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

Should population-based CVD risk assessment models make way for individualised risk prediction techniques?...

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Lower your risk of heart disease

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Lower your risk of heart disease

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Lower your risk of heart disease

Support and resources to help you stay healthy and reduce risk of heart disease. ...

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Get the facts on quitting and how it can help you recover. ...

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Many different thoughts may go through your head after a heart attack and you may be presented with complicated medical info. Know where to get support. ...

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

One of the most powerful ways to help support a future without heart disease is to include a gift to the Heart Foundation in your Will...

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Search our heart healthy dinner recipes for tonights main meal...

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and exercise can benefit your heart, body and mind....

Chicken recipes

Chicken recipes

Chicken recipes

Find heart healthy chicken recipes....

Our strategy

Our strategy

Our strategy

Connecting Hearts Strategy 2021-2023...

Nutrition Position Statements

Nutrition Position Statements

Nutrition Position Statements

The Heart Foundation’s food and nutrition position statements have been developed to keep you informed about our position on a range of nutrition issues relating to heart health. ...

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Know what your heart medicines are for and how to take them. ...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management resources for health professionals...

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Find heart healthy beef recipes....

$1.2 million budget plea to help Victorians pick up the pace

$1.2 million budget plea to help Victorians pick up the pace

$1.2 million budget plea to help Victorians pick up the pace

Media release: 20 October 2021...

Keeping your heart healthy

Keeping your heart healthy

Keeping your heart healthy

Keeping your heart healthy is something you can work on every day. ...

Heart Foundation congratulates Imelda Lynch on appointment to Ministerial research advisory board

Heart Foundation congratulates Imelda Lynch on appointment to Ministerial research advisory board

Heart Foundation congratulates Imelda Lynch on appointment to Ministerial research advisory board

Media Release - 28 September 2021...