Campbelltown, you’re number one.

Worrying statistics: The waist lines of residents in Campbelltown has become a major concern Department of Health figures show.

But there’s no reason to celebrate.

Statistics revealed by the Department of Health show Campbelltown is one of the unhealthiest areas in the Sydney, recordingthe highest rate of deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease and body mass index.

The area alsohad the second highest rate of hospitalisations due to type two diabetes.

Macarthur MP and paediatrician Dr Michael Freelander said there were several factors for the high rates.

“We have a high Aboriginal and Pacific Islander population (and those cultures)have high rates of type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” he said.

“Campbelltown’s smoking ratesare among the highest in Australia and there’s also high alcohol consumption and poor involvement in exercise.

“We need to make people more aware of cardiovascular disease and not just talk about people looking unhealthy and overweight because it does kill them.”

Dr Freelander said education and awareness were the keys to reducing the rates,however, he had two other ideas to combat the issues.

“I believe there is a strong case for a sugar tax,” he said.

“I also think we could introduce sporting subsidies.I see families who can’t put there kids into sports because of the cost.”

Last year, the head of Campbelltown Hospital’sEndocrinology Unit, Dr David Simmons,told the Advertiserthere was a diabetes epidemic sweeping across the world and Macarthur was not immune.

“Nearly a quarter of patients inhospitals – certainly in this hospital – have diabetes, though they maynot beherebecause of diabetesdirectly,” he said.

“One of the biggest epidemics is (gestational)diabetes in pregnancy.

“This is not just affecting mums it’s affecting babies who have an increased risk of diabetes and obesitylater on.

“In this facility about five years ago there were 150 to200 women who had gestational diabetes but last year there were 500. This is huge –it’s swamping us.”

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said the figures were “disturbing” and believed more money needed to be invested into awareness programs.

“This shows us that we have to mindful of our health and highlights the importance of education and awareness.

“Investing in research and awareness doesn’t have immediate impacts, but it has long-term results.”

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