Cairns locals will be receiving free health checks at Smithfield Shopping Centre today to determine whether they are eligible to participate in My health for life, a $27 million statewide healthy lifestyle program to be rolled out over four years.
Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said Cairns was one of the first regions in Queensland to benefit from the program, which is aimed at helping improve the health of Queenslanders who are at high risk of developing chronic disease.
Mr Dick said My health for life was an evidence-based healthy lifestyle program free to eligible participants and delivered by trained health professionals.
“Its purpose is to help people get their health back on track so they don’t develop chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke,” he said.
“Cardiovascular disease is the second largest cause of death in Queensland. We also know that indigenous Queensland adults are more likely to have diabetes than non-indigenous adults.
“Often people are unaware just how much their lifestyle choices can impact on their personal risk of developing chronic disease, especially if there are no obvious signs or symptoms.
“My health for life will be rolled out to nine communities this year and then be available on a statewide basis next year.”
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said group sessions were available in Cairns, Mareeba and Atherton right now, while phone coaching was available to people outside of those areas.
Mr Crawford said the team behind the program would be working hand-in-hand with local communities and health providers to raise awareness about chronic disease risk factors and identify those community members who would be eligible for the program.
“My health for life offers participants six sessions of coaching and support over six months, delivered either over the phone, in structured sessions, or in small groups. Participants also have access to a range of supporting resources,” Mr Crawford said.
“As a former paramedic, I know diabetes is a condition many in our community suffer from. I’m really pleased to be part of a government that is making this significant investment in preventative healthcare.
“It’s great that the community is already recognising the benefits of My health for life, with residents lining up to join before it was even rolled out in the community.
“About 40 people are enrolled in group programs and the good news is, there is room for more.”
My health for life was developed by a health alliance comprising the Heart Foundation, Stroke Foundation, federally-funded and operated Primary Health Networks, the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, and is led by Diabetes Queensland.
Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said the program would appeal to people looking for a different approach to achieving a healthier lifestyle.
“People often know what is good for them but have difficulty starting or getting to where they need to go,’’ Ms Trute said.
“That’s where we come in. The program recognises everyone has different barriers and motivation for living a healthier life.
“We show people how they can take small steps to achieve big health results.’’
Ms Trute said the health alliance was excited about the program.
“The organisations that belong to the health alliance have been working in this space for some time, so we are delighted to be part of a program that works alongside GPs and other local health professionals,’’ she said.
“Instead of everyone trying to do a bit, we can combine efforts to achieve a stronger outcome.’’
Information on the program, including eligibility criteria, is available here or by calling 13 RISK (13 7475).