Health rates in Parkes and beyond

Are the drinking stats surprising to you? Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.
Are the drinking stats surprising to you? Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.

Almost one-quarter of the Parkes population smoke and almost one-fifth are deemed risky drinkers.

The Mitchell Institute has revealed 18.8 per cent of people in the Parkes Local Government Area drink more than advised. That is people aged above 15 years who have reported average alcohol consumption of more than two standard drinks per day over the past year.

Alarmingly, more people admit to smoking, with 24.3 per cent of the population self-reported smokers. That is people aged above 14 years who, at the time of interview, said they were a current, daily or at least once-a-week smoker.

Parkes' neighbour Forbes have a higher number of risky drinkers with 19.9 per cent of the population engaging in heavy or consistent drinking. More people have admitted to smoking with 21.6 per cent of the population indulging at least once-a-week.

There are similar numbers around the region, with 18.7 per cent of the Cowra population deemed as risky drinkers, Young is reporting 17.6 per cent of people, similarly in Boorowa 18.4 per cent of people fall into the same category.

Weddin Local Government Area is higher with 20.8 per cent of people admitting to heavy drinking.

Cowra has the largest rate of smokers in the same region at 24.4 per cent. Young has a similar rate at 23.1 per cent and Boorowa is slightly lower at 22.1 per cent. Weddin is lower again at 20.8 per cent of people confirmed as smokers.

According to the data Harden and Cootamundra have similar rates for drinking at 18.3 per cent and 20.8 per cent respectively.

Harden has a higher smoking rate at 22.2 per cent, Cootamundra comes in just under at 21.9 per cent of people categorise themselves as smokers.

The institute reported 18.2 per cent of Australians were deemed "heavy" drinkers. The 2025 target is 16.1 per cent. The same data reports 16.1 per cent of the population are smokers, the 2025 target is five per cent.

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends no more than two standard drinks a day and to avoid binge drinking. It is advised to have two-alcohol free days weekly and to choose low-alcohol drinks.

The Cancer Council advises the combined effects of smoking and alcohol greatly increase the risk of cancer. Up to 75 per cent of cancers of the upper airway and digestive tract can be related to alcohol and smoking.

The data by area is from 2014-2015, national average health risks is from 2017-2018. Sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Source: Australia's Health Tracker (July, November 2016).

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