City of Mandurah to address health concerns with public health plan

The saying says “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, however almost half of Mandurah’s adult population eats less than two serves of fruit every day.

An alarming 92.3 per cent of adults eat less than five serves of vegetables, and 71.2 per cent are overweight or obese.

However, bad eating habits aren’t the only health concern in the Mandurah area.

31 per cent of residents over the age of 18 drink alcohol at risky levels for long-term harm, and 39.9 per cent of the local adult population aren’t active enough.

Those figures, released in 2013 as part of the City of Mandurah Community Health and Wellbeing profile, sparked significant health and social concerns among City of Mandurah staff, who implemented a two-year Healthy Communities Initiative the same year.

The plan focused on the community groups with lower health profiles, such as long-term unemployed people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, carers, the elderly, people with disabilities and other cultural minorities.

As part of the initiative, the City developed strategies to ensure existing activities and facilities were marketed to those groups, identified barriers that prevented them from accessing services, and improved community awareness about the services and facilities available.

According to the City of Mandurah, the outcomes of the initiative were extremely positive.

However, as part of the state government’s 2016 Public Health Act, the City of Mandurah will have to develop a new three-year public health plan to identify the needs of the community and how to address them. 

The plan will be developed in consultation with the local community and key stakeholders, and will be based around collected health data.

It will include the establishment of a Healthy Communities Coordinator and the allocation of an operating budget of $60,000. 

However, the City will request the state government to fund the implementation of the plan.

As part of the 2016 Public Health Act, the Department of Health will also prepare a state plan to guide local governments.

The state plan is set to be available around mid to late 2017.