Region’s boozers top state

Bright, Mount Beauty and the Towong region are home to Victoria’s largest amount of heavy drinkers, with 28 per cent of people admitting to risky boozing.

The cities of Wodonga and Benalla have comparatively less problem drinkers than outlying areas, with rates of 17 and 16 per cent. 

In Albury’s CBD and East Albury 16 per cent of people smoke, but just a few kilometres away 22 per cent of North Albury and Lavington residents are smokers.

Rutherglen and Benalla ranked among the top percentile of the state for cancer deaths, with rates of 192 to 246 per 100,000 people.

And there are now more overweight and obese people in the North East than those with a healthy weight, according to data from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration.

In Wodonga, 68 per cent of people are overweight, putting them at greater risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

A quarter of its population suffer from high blood pressure while 23 per cent smoke, increasing their chance of heart attack and cancer.

The revelation comes as Wodonga Council launched a health and wellbeing plan for the next four years, aimed at improving healthy eating and physical activity.

Mayor Anna Speedie called on residents to have their say to help pinpoint what issues should take priority

“There are high levels of disadvantage and vulnerability experienced by some of our people,” she said.

“Many people within Wodonga experience social, economic and physical barriers that limit their ability to be healthy, feel safe, be fully included and connected with the community.”

Wodonga residents should visit to register for a forum on December 6, or to complete an online survey by December 16.

The data revealed a correlation between higher incomes and narrower waistlines, which experts attributed to health education.

But some health conditions did not discriminate on money, including high cholesterol.