Physical Health for the Global Goals

This year, we are focusing on a theme of Healthy Not Hungry. At the Global Goals Australia Campaign, we look at health on five different levels. Today, we...

Physical Health for the Global Goals

This year, we are focusing on a theme of Healthy Not Hungry.

At the Global Goals Australia Campaign, we look at health on five different levels.

Today, we explore the predominant concept of health: physical health.

There are three key components to physical health: diet, exercise and sleep. The goals cover each of these in different ways.

Goal 2: Zero Hunger looks at hunger and nutrition, addressing the first component of physical health – diet. The first target of Goal 2 aims to end hunger and ensure access for everyone to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year around. The second target aims to end all forms of malnutrition with a specific focus on children under 5, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons. To find out more about nutrition in Australia and recommendations, check out our article: Time to Get off the Sofa to Achieve Goal 3!

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being addresses the idea of physical health in a more holistic manner. The first target of Goal 3, reducing the global maternal mortality ratio, has already been achieved in all states and territories across Australia. The second target of Goal 3 is focused on ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age. Some of the leading causes of preventable death among children under 5 in Australia are accidental threats to breathing, land transport accidents and accidental drowning and submersion.

It is important to mention here that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is another leading cause of death among infants in Australia; however, it is not entirely a ‘preventable cause of death’. According to Andrew Ring, Education Services Officer at Red Nose, there is no medical definition as to what SIDS is, meaning it cannot be categorised as a preventable cause of death. In saying this, Mr Ring explains that evidence suggests that by adhering to Red Nose recommendations and guidelines and promoting a safe and healthy sleep, parents can give their children the highest chance possible of avoiding SIDS. Red Nose has seen dramatic improvement since first rolling out their Safe Sleeping Suite of Education in 1991. Instances of SIDS have dropped from 358 deaths in 1991 to 38 deaths in 2014. For more information on how you can give your child a safe and healthy sleep, visit the Red Nose website.

Target 3.3 looks at ending the epidemics of all communicable diseases with particular emphasis on the following:

  • AIDS
  • Tuberculosis
  • Malaria
  • Neglected tropical diseases
  • Hepatitis
  • Water-borne diseases

Target 3.4 follows on to look at non-communicable diseases. In particular, this target aims to reduce, by one third, premature mortality from non-communicable diseases. Some of the leading causes of death among 45 + year olds in Australia include coronary heart disease, lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure. The risk of the cardiovascular diseases listed above can be reduced by diet and exercise. To find out more about exercise in Australia and recommendations, check out our article: Time to Get off the Sofa to Achieve Goal 3! The primary risk factor of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is smoking. Target 3.a aims to strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate. To find out more about Australia’s tobacco usage and recommendations, check out our article: Time to Get off the Sofa to Achieve Goal 3!

Target 3.5 focuses on the strengthening of prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol. A 2014 study based on 2010 data reported alcohol to be a killer of 15 Australians every day and to hospitalise over 430 each day. To find out more about Australia’s alcohol consumption and recommendations, check out our article: Time to Get off the Sofa to Achieve Goal 3!

Target 3.7 ensures universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services. This will aid in the reduction of some of the communicable diseases associated with Target 3.3. Target 3.7 also relates to Target 5.6 of Goal 5: Gender Equality. Target 5.6 looks at ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action.

Target 3.8 aims to achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. Australia’s Medicare program is addressing this particular target.

Target 3.9 looks to substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.

This leads into Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, namely Target 6.3: By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials.

This also related to Target 12.4 embedded in Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. This target aims to, by 2020, achieve the environmentally-sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimise their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities also addresses, in one of the targets, the direct impact of physical health. The third pillar of physical health is sleep. To get a decent night of sleep, it is important to have adequate and safe housing. This is covered in Target 11.1: By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.

It is also important to invest in research for developing vaccines and medicines to treat both communicable and non-communicable diseases to improve the health of people, not only in Australia, but around the world.

Looking for ways you can commit to being #HealthyNotHungry in 2017? Check out why you should get off the sofa for the Global Goals!

You can also share your stories with us and with your network on social media to encourage others to do the same!