Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young.
Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young. Geoff Egan

Queensland no longer the fattest state

QUEENSLAND'S health is on the mend - and regional areas are driving the improvement.

The state's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young's two-yearly report found fewer Queenslanders were daily smokers, and the percentage of the population who were obese had plateaued.

Dr Young said the improvements meant Queensland was no longer Australia's fattest state.

But Dr Young said people were overloading Queensland's emergency departments with maladies that a GP should be treating.

Speaking to media in Brisbane Dr Young said the number of people admitted into hospitals was increasing faster than the state's population or median age should account for.

"Queenslanders are living longer, dying less of preventable diseases and we're taking better care of our health," she said.

"But one in 15 hospitalisations could have been treated in the primary health sector which is why I'm urging everyone to work with their GP to ensure that they stay out of hospital if they can."

Dr Young said new hospitals and increased bed capacity had allowed the system to cope but it was "unsustainable".

"People are tending to come to the emergency department rather than see their GP. So that causes problems because the GP can't manage their condition," she said.

"So it's really important that every single Queenslander finds a GP that they trust and they can work with."

She said reducing the number of people being admitted to hospitals would reduce the health sector's burden on the taxpayer.

The report found said there have been health improvements in much of regional Queensland.

"We are seeing people being more physically active. We are seeing reductions in admissions due to lifestyle factors. We have seen a plateauing of obesity through most of the state," Dr Young said.

"We have seen a reduction in smoking rates throughout most of the state. Not everywhere of course but we're really seeing that happening. So that's really good news."

The report found the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Queenslanders was shrinking. But Dr Young said an indigenous Queenslander still had a 10 years shorter life expectancy than a non-indigenous Queenslander.


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