AIA Australia has confirmed a fifth modifiable risk factor contributing to deaths in the country.
Until recently, the data on global disease identified four lifestyle factors – physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking and excess alcohol – that lead to four major NCDs in cancer, diabetes, respiratory and heart diseases that are responsible for over 90 per cent of deaths in Australia.
However the life insurer has confirmed that our interaction with the environment is a new modifiable risk factor, while mental health conditions and disorders have also been identified as the latest NCD.
“The two are inextricably linked by a whole range of environmental factors that have a direct impact on personal, physical and mental health,” environmentalist and AIA Vitality ambassador, Tim Jarvis AM, said.
“For example, we now know that the quality of the air we breathe has implications on non-communicable diseases in the form of cardiovascular disease, lung function and asthma; the quality of food we eat is impacted by environmental factors such as food safety, microbes, chemicals and bio toxins; and ultraviolet radiation increases the risk of skin cancers like melanoma.”
Mr Jarvis claims the best way to reduce the negative impact on the environment is to focus on what can be controlled on an individual basis.
“Some valuable first steps could include conserving natural resources, being mindful of our consumption and dietary choices and reducing household waste. Or even choosing to use public or active transport, such as walking and cycling, when possible,” Mr Jarvis said.
“By breaking down the enormity of some of these big challenges, whether it’s health or climate change, into small manageable pieces that we have influence over people can get onboard with being part of the solution.”
AIA Australia and New Zealand chief executive and managing director, Damien Mu, added: “By prioritising self-care in five key lifestyle areas – good nutrition, regular exercise, living in a clean environment, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake – we can reduce the collective rate of disease across the nation”.
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