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Waitemata Residents among the Healthiest in New Zealand

17 March 2014

Waitemata Residents among the Healthiest in New Zealand

People living in the Waitemata district are among the healthiest in the country, a new survey has found.

The 201113 New Zealand Health Survey, funded by the Ministry of Health, has found residents in the Waitemata district to have among the lowest rates of smoking, obesity, heart disease, stroke, diagnosed diabetes, and medicated asthma rates in the country.

Overall, more than 92% of people living within the Waitemata District Health Board area reported excellent, very good or good selfrated health, up from 88.8% in the 200607 survey.

Among the key findings for the Waitemata district include:
• a very high number of adults reporting excellent, very good or good health (92.4%)
• one of the lowest smoking rates in New Zealand (12.9% against the New Zealand average of 17.1%)
• the second lowest rate of obesity (23.4% against New Zealand’s 29.1%)
• one of the lowest rates of medicated high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and medicated asthma in the country
• good primary healthcare and after hours access, with one of the lowest numbers of people reporting that they were unable to get an appointment at their usual medical practice within 24 hours over the last 12 months

Waitemata DHB CEO Dr Dale Bramley, a public health physician, attributes the results to a combination of good socioeconomic factors in the district, along with the excellent health services available in the district from NGOs, primary care and hospitals. The DHB also strongly encourages positive lifestyle choices among the district’s more than 570,000 residents.

“We’re pleased that the latest Health Survey results confirm the high health status of our population – it is particularly pleasing to see that the number of smokers has dropped given that it still remains the leading risk factor for ill health and death. Many lives will be saved by this drop in smoking prevalence.”

Dr Bramley says the results on primary care access were particularly heartening, with just 11% of adults in the district reporting that they were unable to get an appointment at their usual medical centre within 24 hours over the past 12 months – a big drop from the 18.5% reported in the 200607 survey.

“While there is still room for improvement, our district’s general practices do an absolutely fantastic job, even at a time when population growth continues year on year.”

He says the survey results are consistent with other indicators that show that overall, Waitemata residents appeared to be healthier than their national counterparts.

Data has previously shown Waitemata's population to be the longest living in the country, with an average life expectancy of 84 years.

The Ministry of Health’s annual statistical publication, Cancer: New Registrations and Deaths 2009, has also previously shown Waitemata residents to have the lowest cancer death rates in the country.

The New Zealand Health Survey is an important data collection tool that enables the Ministry of Health to support the development of health services, policy and strategy.

The latest survey involved about 8500 children aged 0 to 14 years and about 25,500 adults aged from 15 years between the period of July 2011 to June 2013.

ENDS

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