Prevention And Better Health Alliance
The Prevention and Better Health Alliance was established in August 2013 to coordinate the health promotion and prevention work within the catchment. The Prevention and Better Health Alliance has a commitment to working towards addressing the social determinants of health through a primary prevention approach. The social determinants of health can be considered the root causes of health and disease.
The Prevention and Better Health Alliance priorities are:
- Family violence, specifically the prevention of violence against women and children
- Smoking cessation and prevention
- The primary prevention of chronic disease
Family Violence, the prevention of Violence Against women and children
In Australia, family violence is widespread and a prevalent social problem. More than half of Australian women experience some form of it in their lifetime. At a local level, Frankston has amongst the highest rates of police call outs to family violence incidents in Victoria, and the rates of child abuse substantiations in Frankston North are twice that of the Southern Metro Region (SMR) overall whereas those of Hastings are almost triple those of the SMR. Violence is preventable. Evidence indicates a strong correlation between levels of violence and potentially modifiable factors such as income, gender inequality, harmful use of alcohol/illicit drugs/other substances, social deprivation, absence of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between children and parents.
Catchment-based family violence prevention strategies will be informed by a regional plan currently in development.
Smoking Cessation and Prevention
Smoking rates are higher than the Victorian average in many parts of the catchment, and deaths from lung cancer are higher than the Victorian average. Rates of male smokers are higher than Victorian and Australian rates, in four of the five small local areas in the catchment. Smoking cessation among low-income communities is a priority.
Strategies will include whole of population prevention action such as supporting smoke-free environments; as well as working with specific populations with the highest levels of smoking to develop tailored, settings-based cessation support.
Primary Prevention of Chronic Disease
Despite the significant gains in life expectancy and many areas of health risk, in Australia and internationally, the growing burden of chronic, non-communicable disease has become a critical issue for health systems and governments. Local data provides the following perspective:
- Mornington Peninsula and Frankston have smoking rates, higher than the state average
- The number of people who do not drink alcohol in the Mornington Peninsula is significantly lower compared with the state average. However people who do drink, drink significantly higher levels that cause short term harm.
- 5.2% in Frankston and 8.5% in the Mornington Peninsula met both fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines; and over 50% are not compliant with either fruit or vegetable consumption guidelines.
- About 30% of our catchment’s population are sedentary or do not engage in sufficient physical activity
- 26% of females in Frankston are considered obese compared with 17.2% of females in Victoria
The Primary prevention of chronic disease strategies of the Alliance have yet to be developed, and will be informed by a community needs assessment and community development approaches.