Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Our aging population and the associated increase in chronic diseases is resulting in an alarming escalation in healthcare costs. Government and healthcare professionals need an accurate measure of the health of Australians to help focus resources and provide benchmarks to assess the success of new initiatives.

Our aging population and the associated increase in chronic diseases is resulting in an alarming escalation in healthcare costs. Government and healthcare professionals need an accurate measure of the health of Australians to help focus resources and provide benchmarks to assess the success of new initiatives.

Australia’s leading research organisation, Roy Morgan Research has collaborated with world-leading healthcare company, Alere, to establish the Alere Wellness Index*.

The Alere Wellness Index powered by Roy Morgan Research is a comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date reflection of the nation’s health. The Index will inform the decisions of Healthcare Planners, Commonwealth and State Health Promotion Agencies, Medicare Locals as well as Healthcare Industry stakeholders and Community organisations.

1,800 health questions answered by 50,000 Australians

Every year since 2007, Roy Morgan has been asking more than 50,000 people questions about their medical conditions, food purchasing and consumption, psychological wellbeing and other lifestyle factors, such as alcohol, smoking, body weight and sedentary behaviour — approximately 1,800 questions in total — in order to create the new Alere Wellness Index*.

With approximately 4,000 people surveyed every four weeks, monthly monitoring of the health habits and risks of Australians has, for the first time, become possible.

Preventable diseases cost taxpayers over $60 billion p.a.

Recent estimates suggest that we are spending over $60 billion managing health issues that are attributable to poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol and weight gain. The Alere Wellness Index* could make a big difference to Australia's bottom line, by helping to focus attention and resources where and when they are most needed, while providing benchmarks to help assess the return on investment in new health initiatives.

Welcomed by Diabetes Australia

Health industry leaders have welcomed the Alere Wellness Index*. Prof Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia, believes this detailed information provides desperately needed insights into the state of our nation’s health.

“We welcome the release of the new Alere Wellness Index*. This powerful information gives us a better understanding of what is actually happening with modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as nutrition, physical activity levels, healthy weight, and mental wellbeing. It is also important for helping the community, the media, and governments to better understand the trends and changes in modifiable risk factors for health.”

Monitoring of chronic disease risk factors

Alere Managing Director, Mark Volling, says the new Index allows well-informed monitoring of chronic disease risk factors.

“The Alere Wellness Index* also allows us to determine where action is needed in relation to critical health behaviours, such as nutrition, exercise, smoking, alcohol, weight, stress and chronic health conditions,” Mr Volling says.

“It will provide an excellent public health resource to assist State and Federal governments in their allocation of health services and funding. It will also provide an invaluable tool with which to track outcomes of public health initiatives such as Quitline, Strive for 5 campaigns and the $300M National Healthy Workers Program.”

There's good and bad news

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research, believes that reliable information on key health and wellness metrics based on Australia's largest consumer survey has the potential to have a positive impact on Australians' health.

“Compared to 2007, the overall health of Australians is down just slightly. The good news is that the Alere Wellness Index* indicates positive trends in key health areas including alcohol consumption and smoking. Over a five year period, 1.1 million fewer glasses of alcoholic beverages were consumed every week and 134,000 fewer people now smoke.

"But there's just as much bad news as good. For example, 736,000 more adults are now obese. And the number of people with anxiety has grown by 1.3 million."

The healthiest regions in Australia as measured by the Alere Wellness Index* are ranked below...

Brisbane - Western

Perth - Central

Melbourne - Inner City

Sydney - Northern

Melbourne -Central

While the least healthy are ranked …

NSW Country - Newcastle

SA Country- Eyre

NSW Country - North West

QLD Country - Outer North West

NSW Country - Murray and Murrumbidgee

Michele Levine says: “If you were spending $60 billion p.a. to improve the health of your family, friends and neighbours, wouldn't you want to make sure it was being used to the greatest effect? Hopefully the Alere Wellness Index* will focus us all on the outcome we want, an overall increase in the nation’s health and wellness."

For further details visit www.WellnessIndex.com.au or contact:

• Media — London Agency, John Emmerson

03 9982 4450, [email protected]

• Data — Roy Morgan Research, Nick Williams

02 9261 8233, [email protected]

• Health — Alere, 1800 622 642, [email protected]

Contact Profile

Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
P: 03 9224 5332
W: www.roymorgan.com


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