One of the ways the Alliance is Shining a light on rural and remote health is through publishing infographics – visual representation of important rural health issues.
People living in rural and remote communities have poorer access to health information and higher health risks such as overweight and obesity, smoking and risky alcohol consumption than city people. Add social disadvantage to rural and remote living and the rates of risky alcohol consumption and smoking are even higher.
Health promotion strategies have not been as effective with people who live in rural and remote areas and health risk factors remain much worse. As a result, improvements in health status and life expectancy for rural people are not keeping up with those of people in Australia’s major cities.
Rates of smoking provide an important and well-evidenced example. The COAG Reform Council reports that, in 2011-12, whereas 14.8 per cent of people in the Major cities were smokers, the figures were 19.9 per cent and 22.9 per cent for Inner and Outer Regional areas and up to 26 per cent for Remote areas. And, while rates have declined in major cities, urban centric health promotion strategies have failed the people who live in rural and remote areas.
Our first published infographic is on smoking, which is one of the greatest risk factors for poor health - and one that increases with remoteness.
The Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) should be strongly supported and empowered to lead vital work on decreasing health risks and preventing illness. It should devote a significant proportion of its resources to health promotion strategies that work for people who live in rural and remote areas, reducing health risks and improving outcomes.
Smoking infographics refs: COAG Reform Council; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
A4 copies of infographics are available on request for your events.