Get active south-west residents!
New Heart Foundation figures released earlier this week have revealed south-west Sydney - which includes Fairfield and Liverpool- has the highest rate of physical inactivity in NSW with more than three in four people not active enough for good health. That's a 17 per cent difference when compared to the state average.
South-west Sydney is also the only metropolitan area to appear in the top 10 for smoking rates with 16.4 per cent of the population smoking - 14 per cent above the state average. Of the 10 regions with the highest smoking rates, all but one are in regional and rural areas.
Of the two other heart disease risk factors, the region placed 17th in obesity (33.5 per cent) and eighth in high blood pressure (23.6 per cent).
When it comes to rates of hospitalisations from heart attack, south-west Sydney ranks tenth with 16.6 per 10,000 people admitted to hospital for heart attacks - 15 per cent above the state average. The figures show that the Riverina region - which includes Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Gundagai and Deniliquin - is the state's heart-attack capital with a heart attack hospitalisation rate of 21.5 per 10,000 people.
The Heart Foundation's NSW/ACT heart health manager Anna Flynn said the stats showed a disparity between those living in regional areas compared to the inner city.
"These figures reveal an alarming inequality between the NSW residents who are most and least at risk of heart disease, as well as those who are most and least likely to be hospitalised or die from the condition, including from a heart attack," she said.
"If you live in the state's remote south, north or west, or in a disadvantaged part of Sydney, you have a much higher chance of heart disease, which remains the single leading cause of death in NSW.
"This is unacceptable, and the Heart Foundation will continue its work to reduce heart disease.
"We also urge governments at all levels to take action to curb the toll - especially in regional, rural and disadvantaged areas, where our Heart Maps show the burden of heart disease is at its highest."
The statistics are part of the latest update to the Heart Foundation's Australian Heart Maps.
The map is an online tool which allows users to look at data for heart disease deaths, hospitalisations and risk factors at a national, state, regional and local government area level.