Australians urged to be heart health aware after HCF tests 50,000 members for risk factors

Sydney, 2 May 2017: HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute are urging Australians to be heart health aware this Heart Week, from 30 April to 7 May 2017.

With cardiovascular disease remaining Australia’s biggest killer, HCF provides Victor Chang Heart Health Check Booths at branches nationally and have tested more than 50,000 Australians for risk factors for heart disease.

In the last five years of partnership between HCF and the Victor Chang Institute, HCF has helped Australians measure key risk factors, including blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol - recommending those with elevated levels see their local GP. While the figures vary town by town, on average 1 in 3 (33.4%) members testedi are referred to see their doctor for further checks, highlighting the importance of being vigilant to protect against heart disease.

One in four deaths occur worldwide from heart diseases, while in Australia the disease accounts for nearly 50,000 deaths every year, with one Australian dying from heart disease every 12 minutes.ii

HCF Chief Benefits Officer, Cindy Shay, says “While many Australians understand that smoking, lack of physical activity and high saturated fat diets are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the Victor Chang Heart Health Checks provide a practical way to detect conditions like high blood pressure, glucose levels or elevated cholesterol early, and ensure people receive medical attention before a heart attack strikes.”

According to Professor Roland Stocker at the Victor Chang Institute, heart disease can affect anyone at any age.

“Heart problems can strike down young and old, so we must be vigilant. Most cardiovascular disease is caused by a fault in the pipes of the heart. To do its job effectively in pumping blood around the body, the heart needs the blood vessels to be in good condition,” Professor Stocker says.

The Victor Chang Institute and HCF have partnered to help improve awareness of the importance of heart health and the connection between risk factors and heart disease, by providing the Heart Health Check Booths in branches since 2011.

“Through our ongoing partnership with the Victor Chang Institute, we hope to help even more Australians make the lifestyle changes they need to help improve their health for the long term.” Ms Shay said.

You can find your nearest Victor Chang Heart Health Check here.

According to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, there are some simple ways that Australians can maintain a healthy heart:
1. Know the risk factors - smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and family history are just some of the risk factors to be aware of
2. Recognise the early warning signs of a heart attack
3. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and choose lean meats and poultry, and cut down on salt
4. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day
5. Curb your alcohol intake. No more than one or two standard alcoholic drinks per day is recommended
6. Quit smoking


Issued on behalf of HCF by WE Buchan. Media inquiries to:

About HCF

HCF, leading not-for-profit health fund protecting Australians since 1932, covers over 1.5 million members with health and life insurance, community care, travel and pet insurance. On average over the last five years, HCF has paid out more cents in every dollar in premiums to members as benefits than the industry average. With over 35,000 specialists participating in its Medical Gap Cover Scheme and approximately 10,000 providers participating in its 100% back More for You programs, HCF gives members access to quality health care with no gaps or minimal costs compared to non-participating providers. To empower members to put their health first, HCF also offers a range of health and lifestyle services including its My Health Guardian health management program, mobile Victor Chang Health Checks and My Global Specialist second opinion service. HCF’s national network of retail outlets and Australian-based call centres have earned multi-award winning status. HCF members also have access to low cost, high quality services at HCF Dental Centres and HCF Eyecare Centres. Having contributed $50 million to support the health services research funded by the HCF Research Foundation, HCF is devoted to investing in the future of Australia’s health. To learn more about HCF go to


iData based on Victor Chang Heart Health Check Booths, conducted from January – April 2017.

iiVictor Chang Cardiac Research Institute: Heart Disease Statistics.
Accessed at: