Research unveils the biggest heart risks for Chinese Australians

Published 18 Jan 2017

A new study has revealed the three main contributing factors to cardiovascular disease (CVD) among Chinese Australians: diabetes, smoking and physical inactivity.

The research, conducted by the Sax Institute, examined 266,696 Chinese Australians, mixed-race Chinese Australians and non-Chinese Australians across NSW.

Figures from the Heart Foundation show there were more than 45,000 deaths due to CVD in Australia in 2014, with a person in the country dying from the condition every 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, data from the Australian government's Department of Health estimates 1.2 million people across the nation were living with CVD in 2014-15.

CVD in Chinese Australians

The disease is commonly included on critical illness cover, meaning policyholders could receive a lump sum payment to deal with hospital bills and a range of other costs should they become diagnosed with CVD.

"Heart disease is the single biggest killer in Australia and we have identified the major risk factors in the Chinese Australian community," said Dr Melody Ding, the study's senior author and senior research fellow at the University of Sydney's School of Public Health.

"When it comes to major cardiovascular risk factors, Chinese Australians have a 25 per cent higher prevalence of diabetes, a 22 per cent higher prevalence of smoking and a 45 per cent higher prevalence of physical inactivity than non-Chinese Australians."

According to Ms Ding, the research will give decision makers and advocates more information to help build culturally specific initiatives to target Chinese Australians regarding the risks of CVD.

Raising awareness of CVD

The study also showed mixed-race Chinese Australians are at a higher risk and prevalence of developing heart disease than Chinese Australians.

Kerry Doyle, CEO of the Heart Foundation NSW, said they have been working more closely with Chinese media outlets and the Chinese Australian Services Society to warn of the dangers of CVD.

"This research will allow us to be more targeted in our approach, so we can tailor our awareness activities to address specific lifestyle aspects that are strong contributors to heart disease risk in Chinese Australians," she commented.

Making a critical illness claim

Critical illness cover can help provide financial support when someone develops CVD, but what if an insurer or superannuation fund refuses to pay out on a claim?

In these circumstances, policyholders can contact experienced superannuation dispute lawyers for help in challenging a provider's decision, which could result in considerable compensation.

Would you like to discuss your critical illness cover claim? Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers for more information on the next steps.

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