Many of the millions of premature deaths that occur worldwide each year could be prevented by eliminating or reducing common risk factors such as smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol.
Eight risk factors alone account for over 75% of cases of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. These are alcohol consumption, high blood glucose, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high body mass index, high cholesterol, low fruit and vegetable intake and physical inactivity. (Source - World Health Organisation)
Prevention can be primary, i.e. reducing risk of developing disease; secondary, i.e. minimising the progression of a disease; or tertiary, i.e. halting the impact of damage already caused by a disease.
Hunter researchers have a strong focus on each of these dimensions of disease prevention including implementing programs to reduce unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, promote healthy behaviours like eating well and also in developing strategies to maintain good health including mental health.
A number of key studies by researchers in the public health program have made valuable contributions to the health of the Hunter community and resulted in health policy change nationwide.