MORE than half of adults in the south-west are overweight or obese, according to a new national report into preventable deaths.
About 149 people died from potentially-avoidable deaths in the Great South Coast region between 2009 and 2011 — less than other country areas but more than major cities.
The findings delivered by the National Health Performance Authority found up to 66 per cent of adults in the region were overweight.
The report also lists illnesses such as lung cancer, heart disease, suicide, bowel cancer and strokes as deaths that could have been avoided for people under the age of 75.
Great South Coast Medicare Local (GSCML) boss Glenda Stanislaw said the data told local experts what was already well known.
“None of these are surprises. They’ve all been highlighted recently. The purpose is to be able to capture a base line to be able to measure programs implemented in our region,” she said.
Diabetes, mental health and coronary heart problems are the leading health concerns in the region, which covers Portland, Hamilton, Warrnambool and Camperdown.
“Traditionally metropolitan areas do better because of the availability of more services and they access medical services more frequently than their rural counterparts,” Ms Stanislaw said.
“Mental health is the fourth highest concern for our region.”
The report also found the average local life expectancy for men is 79.2 and 83.5 for women.
Men made up more than half the number of deaths that were avoidable.
“Men’s health is an issue because men are over represented in our region so we’re looking at various strategies to deal with chronic diseases,” Ms Stanislaw said.