Health round-up: NSW heatwave, dementia on the rise and sugar consumption down

Richard Laycock 14 December 2017 NEWS

Summer in Sydney

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

Sydney set to swelter

With temperatures set to hit more than 40C in parts of Sydney today, NSW Health issued a warning for people to stay cool and hydrated.

Director of Environmental Health Dr Ben Scalley said it's important for people to stay hydrated and out of the sun.

“It’s important people keep up their water intake, stay cool and avoid strenuous physical activity in the heat of the day," Dr Scalley said in a statement.

Earlier this year, NSW published a study which showed a correlation between heatwaves and a 10% increase in the number of ambulance callouts and deaths.

"Heat places a lot of strain on the body and can interfere with blood circulation and cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” he said.

Cases of dementia expected to triple

With the population aging, the World Health Organization (WHO) expects the number of people affected by dementia to triple from 50 million to 152 million by 2050.

"Nearly 10 million people develop dementia each year, 6 million of them in low- and middle-income countries," said Director-General of WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.

This will come at a huge price, with dementia expected to have a global cost of US$2 trillion per year by 2030.

"This is an alarm call: we must pay greater attention to this growing challenge and ensure that all people living with dementia, wherever they live, get the care that they need," Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Kids consuming less sugar, but Aussies aren't eating their vegetables

The average daily intake of free sugars declined by almost one-quarter (23%) for children aged between 2-18 between 1995 and 2011-12, according to new analysis of the 2011-13 Australian Health Survey.

"Most of the decline of children’s free sugar consumption can be accounted for by the reduction in consumption of soft drinks, cordial and fruit juice/drinks," said director of health at the ABS Louise Gates in a statement.

However, the same study found that people are eating fewer vegetables.

"Average consumption of vegetables and legumes/beans fell by 10%, with decreased consumption by teenage and adults age groups of both sexes,"

What else is happening?

Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt told private health funds that they're going to have to do better when it comes to premium increases, according to an exclusive with News Corp.

According to News Corp, Hunt knocked back their proposed premium hikes for 2018, which insurers have been urged to keep under 4%.

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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