Preventative health is an approach to healthcare that emphasises the importance of taking steps to maintain good health and prevent illness before it occurs. The World Health Organisation defines “health” as having complete physical, mental and spiritual well-being (WHO, 1978). This definition has been corroborated with years of evidence-based research in the clinical and wider community. Their three pillars of well-being have been developed and are defined by key health markers and metrics which allow them to be monitored and assessed (Department of Health, 2021). Within each marker, healthy parameters and baselines have been established for almost every known physical, mental and spiritual marker. By making sure you fall within the assessed parameters for physical, mental and spiritual well-being, we can enhance the quality of your life.
Understanding each component which contributes to a healthy state of being is often complex, and is integrated with many social and personal factors (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018). That is why it’s important to have personalised healthcare which can be easily incorporated into your existing lifestyle and will effectively improve your quality of life both in the short and long term.
This is particularly important in Australia, where nearly 9 in 10 deaths (89%) were
attributed to preventable chronic lifestyle conditions (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022).
Between Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA and Canada, Australia has the lowest spending on preventative healthcare, and it shows (OECD, 2023). Preventative health investment is simple and effective: if we spend now on prevention, we will greatly reduce spending on reactive treatments and care (Treasury, C. 2022).
The importance of preventative health has long been established in scientific literature (Department of Health, 2021). A healthy lifestyle is associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. This may seem obvious for some, but there are many physical, mental and spiritual components which contribute to a high quality of life.
In Australia, there are only a few preventative health care clinics with all the specialists and medical practitioners you need to understand the three pillars of health. A GP with expertise in preventative health can collaborate with specialists in the clinic and prioritise your health concerns to provide accessible, effective and actionable interventions which will improve your wellbeing, abilities, contributions and lifestyle, your quality of life!
By understanding you as a client in a holistic fashion, your healthcare providers can give you personalised recommendations which facilitate all three of the pillars of health, and which can realistically be integrated into your lifestyle and improve your quality of life.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018. Australian burden of disease study 2018: interactive data on disease burden.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2022, Australian Burden of Disease Study 2022, AIHW, Canberra.
Department of Health. (2021). National Preventive Health Strategy 2021–2030.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD statistics: Health expenditure and financing [dataset]. Available from: https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=SHA
Rasmussen, B., Sweeny, K., Welsh, A., Kumnick, M., Reeve, M., & Dayal, P. (2020). Increasing Social and Economic Benefits Globally: Rates of Return on Health Investments.
Treasury, C. (2022). Commonwealth Budget 2022-23 Pre-Budget submission.
World Health Organization. (1978). Declaration of Alma-Ata (No. WHO/EURO: 1978-3938-43697-61471). World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe.