Health round-up: Cost of cigarettes, heart disease and standing too much, and exercise leading to healthier eating

Richard Laycock 5 October 2017 NEWS

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A weekly round-up of Australia's latest healthcare news.

Cost a major factor in why people quit

The rising cost of cigarettes is encouraging more and more Australians to quit, according to recent research conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Cost was cited by 52% of Aussie smokers as the reason they chose to kick the habit, up from 35.8% a decade ago.

" ... the relative influence of price as a motivator for people to quit has increased significantly since 2007, a decade which featured five substantial tobacco tax rises,” said Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda in a statement.

The tobacco tax, when used in conjunction with antismoking campaigns, has proven to be an effective method for helping people make the choice to quit.

“Tobacco tax is one of the main reasons smoking prevalence in Australia has dropped from 16.6% to 12.2% over that 10-year period,” Professor Aranda said.

While we as a country are on the right path, smoking is still a major cause of health issues in Australia and continued investment in antismoking campaigns can help people quit.

“Smoking is still the leading cause of cancer death in Australia. We need more of what works to reduce that burden," she said.

Maybe don't stand up all day

While the health risks associated with sitting all day are widely known, new research has found that prolonged standing has been linked to a multitude of illnesses.

The Canadian study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that those who worked in occupations that required employees to predominantly stand had a higher risk of heart disease (6.6%).

“Our results suggest that workplaces also need to pay attention to the health effects of prolonged standing, and target their prevention programs accordingly,” said Institute for Work & Health (IWH) senior scientist Dr Peter Smith in a statement.

Surprisingly, the unadjusted risk of heart disease for those that stood all day (6.6%) was marginally higher than daily smokers (5.8%).

“A combination of sitting, standing and moving on the job is likely to have the greatest benefits for heart health,” Dr Smith said.

Your exercise choices might influence your diet

Don't like the exercises you're doing? Well, they may be causing you to make unhealthy dietary choices, according to researchers at The University of Western Australia (UWA).

The research published in the international journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that those choosing to participate in exercises they enjoyed were more likely to make healthy food choices.

“We saw participants who had their exercise chosen for them consumed almost double the amount of energy from unhealthy foods compared to those who had choice,” said UWA's Natalya Beer in a statement.

The study found that those who chose their own activities had more enjoyment and that enjoyment would foster healthy behaviours.

“The message is simple – choose exercise you enjoy and you might feel less of an urge to reward yourself with unhealthy food when you finish.”

What else is happening?

The path to a good night's sleep is happiness

Getting a good night's sleep might be as easy as adjusting your outlook on life.

A study published in Sleep Science and Practice found that purpose in life might be associated with less sleep disturbance in seniors.

The results of the study showed a reduction in sleep disorders, such as apnoea, in those that had meaning and purpose in their lives.

Beware of online doctor reviews

Online doctor ratings services may not be giving you the full picture when it comes to performance.

New research published in the Journal of Informatics in Health and Biomedicine found that "online consumer ratings should not be used in isolation to select physicians, given their poor association with clinical performance."

Each week our round-up offers a summary of the latest developments impacting Australian healthcare and most importantly, you, the consumer. Check in every Thursday to find out what's happening in health.

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