The Sunday Examiner has received some positive, and some negative, responses to the launch of its preventative health series.
While a number of health organisations and individuals were happy to have the issue shoved into the limelight, some found it “offensive”.
I think it’s important to clear a couple of things up. The point of the series is not to blame and shame people for the burden of chronic illness on our health system, and on individual quality of life.
However, by burying our heads in the sand, or avoiding a topic because some people might find it "offensive”, we will allow the situation to become much worse.
Without first acknowledging the problem and identifying the causes, how can we move to fix it?
We are already facing a worsening health crisis. There’s no way our state can produce enough money to manage the increasing numbers of people with chronic health conditions into the future. Therefore, we have to work together to make our population healthier.
Again, that doesn’t mean we say to all the sick people, “go and sort yourselves out”. And we’re not placing blame on individuals.
What we need to do is create a state where being healthy is easy.
That means working together, and investing in the facilities and services needed to help everyone live healthier lives.
The Heart Foundation Tasmania was one of the organisations that jumped on board when it saw the launch of the series last week.
It sees the hardships people with chronic conditions live with everyday.
As the foundation’s chief executive said, many Tasmanians need support to make those healthy choices.
For those struggling to live day-to-day, of course, a home-cooked healthy meal with expensive health foods is not going to be a priority.
Healthy choices need to become the easy, affordable choices so that every Tasmanian can enjoy a healthier lifestyle.