The Coalition Government has today announced funding of $7.7 million for the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre to further research into how Australians’ lifestyles contribute to chronic conditions and how to prevent them.
The Centre founded in 2013, is dedicated to identifying new ways of understanding what does and doesn’t work to prevent lifestyle-related chronic health problems in Australia.
Minister Hunt said chronic diseases are a leading cause of death and poor health in Australia, with half the population reporting one or more chronic conditions.
“This commitment from the Coalition through the National Health and Medical Research Council guarantees this team can continue their vital research and provide government with the best evidence to inform policies and programs that address lifestyle related chronic conditions,” Minister Hunt said.
Minister McKenzie said the Coalition Government is absolutely committed to encouraging Australians to lead more active and healthy lifestyles and this funding will compliment those lifestyle changes with evidence based research.
“The Centre brings together researchers, policy makers and practitioners to look at a number of health priority areas including obesity, nutrition, smoking, physical activity levels and alcohol consumption,” Minister McKenzie said.
Professor Andrew Wilson, Director of The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, said that while Australia has done well in the prevention of some chronic diseases and the control of some risk factors, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“Chronic diseases pose the greatest health challenge facing us today – and the problem is rapidly becoming worse due to changes to our lifestyle and our ageing population. It’s no longer enough just to tell people to eat less and exercise more,” Professor Wilson said.
Based at the Sax Institute in Sydney, the Centre will build on the work already undertaken, with this additional funding seeing an increase in scale and scope, as well as more work in rural and remote Australia, and on Australians at high-risk of developing lifestyle-related chronic illness.
Professor Wilson said it is vital that research continues in this area to improve preventative measures, with estimates suggesting that 75 per cent of women and 80 per cent of Australian men over 20 will be overweight or obese by 2025.
“The lifestyle-related behaviours that cause chronic health problems are complex and part of our everyday lives. To successfully prevent chronic disease, we need a broad, research based approach that helps Australians lead healthier lives and reduce exposure to risk factors,” Minister McKenzie said.
“This funding will enable The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre to continue its work to better inform policy and practice decision making. Our research finds the best ways to implement and expand prevention programs to ensure they are most likely to be effective,” Professor Wilson concluded.
This funding is additional to the $10 million commitment from the Coalition Government’s Medical Research Future Fund announced in last year’s Federal Budget for the Centre to undertake new research projects that focus on preventing disease and keeping people out of hospital.