Mackay Isaac Whitsunday residents rank fourth in Australia for high blood pressure.
Mackay Isaac Whitsunday residents rank fourth in Australia for high blood pressure.

Hot under the collar: We are a blood pressure hotspot

WE are not active enough, we have high blood pressure and we're obese.

In fact, among the worst in the country.

New Australian Heart Maps figures show the heart disease death rate in the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsundays region is 76.3 per 100,000 people, which is 6 per cent above the state average and places us ninth in Queensland.

Our heart disease hospitalisations place us fourth in Queensland at 23 per cent above the state average.

Risk factor figures for this region include:

  • 23.8% of adults have high blood pressure
  • 73.4% are not active enough
  • 38.5% are obese
  • 19.4% smoke

These figures place us fourth in Australia for blood pressure issues and ninth for physical inactivity.

We also rank ninth for obesity Australia-wide and fourth in Queensland for smoking.

The Sunshine State dominates Australia's top 10 least physically active regions, with most of the nation's lowest exercise rates recorded in regional Queensland.

The Heart Foundation's Australian Heart Maps data shows a city-country divide persists across rates of heart disease risk factors, deaths and hospitalisations.

Echoing a nationwide trend, levels of obesity, high blood pressure, inactivity and smoking are worse across the board for regional Queenslanders compared to their big city cousins.

The new maps confirm regional Queensland is home to seven of the 10 least active regions in the country, and half of Australia's top 10 high blood pressure hotspots.


>>> Scroll down to view the top 10 lists


Central Queensland is Australia's high blood pressure capital, where the 'silent killer' affects almost one in four adults.

High blood pressure is also a big problem in Mackay-Isaac-Whitsundays, Townsville, Wide Bay and Toowoomba areas, which rank at 4, 5, 6 and 10 out of all the regions across Australia.

Queensland is the second most inactive state after South Australia, but levels of inactivity as well as obesity vary greatly depending on your address.

Nine of our 10 least active locations are in regional Queensland, while the places clocking up the most steps - led by inner-city Brisbane - are in the south-east corner.

Logan-Beaudesert is Queensland's least active region, where more than three in four residents not moving enough for good health.

Thirty minutes of mild exercise, such as walking, each day is recommended.

Nationwide, Logan is second only to Sydney's southwest.


We rank ninth in the country for physical inactivity.
We rank ninth in the country for physical inactivity.


The Ipswich, Darling Downs-Maranoa and Wide Bay regions round out Australia's top five inactivity hotspots.

The national top 10 also takes in Central Queensland, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsundays and Moreton Bay-North.

Almost two in five Logan-Beaudesert residents are obese - the highest rate of any Queensland region and more than 50% higher than in Brisbane's south.

The Darling Downs-Maranoa, Mackay and Ipswich regions are among the other areas with obesity rates higher than the state average.

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO Stephen Vines says the results highlight a great divide in heart health across some communities.

"This paints a grim picture of how Australia's single biggest killer continues to stalk the Sunshine State, and the heart health gaps that exist depending on where you call home," Mr Vines said.

"It's no coincidence that regions with the highest rates of heart disease are also likely to be the most disadvantaged areas.

"Unsurprisingly, we are seeing alarming rates of obesity and physical inactivity in these hotspots, which have huge implications for residents' future heart health.


Our region ranks ninth for obesity across Australia.
Our region ranks ninth for obesity across Australia.


"It's equally concerning to see Queensland regions have some of the worst rates of high blood pressure - a condition that can be silent yet puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke."

Nationwide, heart disease deaths are more than 50% higher for Australians in very remote locations compared to their capital city counterparts.

In the Queensland Outback, which has the highest heart disease death rates in the state and second highest in Australia after the Northern Territory Outback, they are close to twice as high as in Brisbane's western suburbs.

Almost all the hardest-hit regions for deaths are outside metro areas, except for Brisbane South, which ranks third.

Queensland's top 10 for hospitalisations are all in regional or rural areas.

Mr Vines said all Queenslanders deserved to live a full and healthy life, no matter where they lived.

"The Heart Foundation is committed to bringing these numbers down and improving the heart health of all Queenslanders," Mr Vines said.

"These maps illustrate which parts of the state are in greatest need of heart health services and investment, and we urge the Queensland Government to step up measures to tackle these gaps.

"We also implore Queenslanders to take action to protect their heart health - if you're 45 and over, or from age 30 if you're Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, talk to your GP about having a Heart Health Check."


Australia's top 10 physical inactivity hotspots

  1. Sydney - South West (NSW)
  2. Logan - Beaudesert (QLD)
  3. Ipswich (QLD)
  4. Darling Downs - Maranoa (QLD)
  5. Wide Bay (QLD)
  6. Sydney - Blacktown (NSW)
  7. Central Queensland (QLD)
  8. Adelaide - North (SA)
  9. Mackay-Isaac-Whitsundays (QLD)
  10. Moreton Bay - North (QLD)


Australia's top 10 high blood pressure hotspots

  1. Central Queensland (QLD)
  2. Hunter Valley exc Newcastle (NSW)
  3. Sydney - Parramatta (NSW)
  4. Mackay-Isaac-Whitsundays (QLD)
  5. Townsville (QLD)
  6. Wide Bay (QLD)
  7. Western Australia - Outback (South) (WA)
  8. Illawarra (NSW)
  9. Shepparton (VIC)
  10. Toowoomba (QLD)


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