HCF urges Australians to show their hearts some love as cardiovascular disease remains the nation’s biggest health problem

Sydney, 30 April 2018 – With heart-related disease remaining the nation’s biggest killer and claiming the life of 1 Australian every 12minutes, HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute are urging Australians to show their hearts some love by adapting a healthier lifestyle this Heart Week, from 29 April to 5 May 2018.

Knowing the severe impact of cardiovascular disease on Australians’ health, HCF has partnered with the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute since 2012 to offer its members heart health checks to test for risk factors and empower members to take positive control of their health.

In the last year, HCF found that of the members who visited a Victor Chang Health Check Booth, over a third (36%) had high cholesterol, 10% had high blood pressure, 8% had high blood sugar levels. Of the screened members, 37% were referred to see a general practitioner (GP) for a follow up consultation.

HCF Medical Director, Doctor Andrew Cottrill said that there is an opportunity for Australians to get on the front foot to minimise the risk of heart disease prevalent in national data showing that cardiovascular disease claims the lives of 45,000 Australians every year.

“We recently undertook a comprehensive survey that found most Australians understand that a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and regular exercise are the key ingredients to health. Despite this, only 1 in 20 Australians eat the recommended daily serves of fruit and vegetables and just over half (56%) exercise regularly.

“This Heart Week, we are urging Australians to show their hearts some love by being more engaged about their health and being more mindful of how a poor diet, smoking and lack of physical exercise can contribute to cardiovascular disease. We also want to encourage Australians to get their hearts checked regularly, such as utilising our Victor Chang Heart Health Checks, to detect any heart conditions before it’s too late,” Doctor Cottrill said.

According to Professor Jamie Vandenberg, cardiologist at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, signs of poor heart health are not always evident.

“It is important to regularly monitor your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and glucose in addition to keeping your heart in good shape by maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet. The biggest misconception is that heart disease is more prevalent in men, however women are three times more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer. In particular, women who have reached menopause, are at higher risk of heart problems which means we all need to be vigilant.”

Doctor Cottrill concluded by saying, “Our commitment to helping Australians live healthy lives is ongoing. We have a Healthy Weight for Life program to support our members in healthy eating and weight loss and we educate and empower our members to track their heart health at their local branches with the Victor Chang Health Checks.”

Find out when a Victor Chang Health Check is taking place at your nearest HCF branch here.


According to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, there are some simple ways that Australians can maintain a healthy heart:

  1. Understand the risk factors – family history of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and smoking are some indicators to be aware of
  2. Eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruits, especially berries that are packed with heart-healthy nutrients and lean meats. You might even treat yourself to a piece of dark
    chocolate – it can reduce your blood pressure and prevent blood clots1
  3. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Know the early warning signs of a heart attack such as unexplained nausea, dizziness, weakness, and heart palpitations

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


HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund protecting people since 1932, covers around 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 healthcare 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 Heart 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. 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 hcf.com.au/about-us