Page 2416 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 31 July 2018

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lead time for many data collections to be published can be up to two years due to the complexity of the collection and coding methods, cleaning process and validity checks, and a number of collections, such as surveys, are not undertaken every year.

The healthy Canberra report focuses on priority health issues that cause the greatest burden of disease, are preventable and are fundamental to good health. This report is divided into four parts: healthy city, healthy weight, healthy lifestyles and healthy people—acknowledging the importance of our environments and lifestyles on our health. The report is part of a suite of data and information products, including the HealthStats ACT website and short, targeted “focus on” health topic reports.

The data tells us that overall there is much to be proud of in our collaborative and sustained efforts to create a healthy Canberra. This is something that we should celebrate. We frequently perceive health as the provision of health care, but what shapes how long and how well we live is less about what happens in the hospital and more about where we live, the availability of resources in our communities, the fresh produce we have access to and the air we breathe. In Canberra, everyone should be able to live, work and play in environments that allow them to thrive and to live long and healthy lives.

First, let us look at what the data tells us about the health of Canberrans today. Canberrans have a healthy city. This is something worth celebrating and protecting. The ACT has excellent ambient air quality on most days. However, this is something that we cannot take for granted. Smoke from fires, both within our borders and beyond, as well as atmospheric conditions that could lead to thunderstorm asthma, can pose a threat to health.

We have a world-class system for measuring and reporting air quality, as well as warning the public of hazardous atmospheric conditions that may affect their health. The AirRater app, introduced in August last year, provides Canberrans with real-time geographically specific information on air pollutants, pollen and temperature in the ACT. It provides free and practical advice to Canberrans with asthma, hay fever and other lung conditions, allowing them to modify their behaviours to avoid symptoms. We already have 919 Canberrans taking part.

In the ACT we are fortunate to enjoy high quality drinking water and health protection systems to prevent waterborne disease, such as regular recreational water monitoring. We also now have increased access to high quality drinking water, with the ACT government water on tap initiative improving the availability of free drinking water in public places, with 41 fixed water units installed at various sporting fields and public spaces across the ACT. People are changing their behaviour, as they feel encouraged to refill their water bottles, with positive benefits for health and our environment.

It can be easy to forget that food can be potentially dangerous if not handled or prepared correctly. During 2015 and 2016, there were 15 foodborne or suspected foodborne outbreaks in the ACT, affecting 194 people. Ten of these people were hospitalised in order to receive treatment. The best food safety system can fail and the increasingly complex nature of the origins of our food, food supply and processing, as

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