Queensland spends a considerable amount of its annual budget on health, and much of that is spent on caring for the longer-term chronic effects on health of inappropriate self-care amongst young adults, with a correspondingly lesser amount spent on targeting known effective preventative health measures. A healthy diet, exercise, and avoidance of known carcinogens throughout adult life are recognised as important for healthy ageing, particularly as the major “quick” killers of late middle age during the 20th century (acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and cancer) are increasingly prevented or effectively treated by appropriate medication. Investing in a more intensive approach to health education, including education on how to use an increasingly complex health system, will become more and more important to ensure that our ageing population avoid multiple debilitating and expensive chronic health problems.
The upcoming Olympics will have a wide public appeal, and an emphasis on fitness and healthy living. They should provide an opportunity to encourage all Queenslanders to look after themselves better. Tobacco and alcohol control will remain a challenge, and prevention of obesity associated metabolic disorders (adult-onset diabetes, chronic cardiac failure, dementia) should be given similar priority as cancer screening and screening for heart disease. Additionally, we should build our environment for health, minimising air pollution to avoid chronic lung disease, and encouraging village-like living areas with good public transport and local social life, to reduce stress and perhaps also mental disorders. It seems likely that health care interventions will become more common for young adults (e.g.
for annual Covid vaccine boosters) and these regular contacts with the health system could be used to screen and advise on health education and effective health interventions, aimed at ensuring that more aged people can live longer independent lives.