Latest statistics show we're unhealthier than most of state

OBESITY, smoking and sunburn are killing people across the Fraser Coast, with more than 180 preventable deaths from cancer in the Wide Bay in a year.

According to Queensland Health's Self-Reported Health Status 2012, people in Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg were more obese, smoked more and rated their personal health lower than the state average.

In 2010, 548 people died from cancer in the Wide Bay region, but the Cancer Council Queensland estimates 183 of these cancer deaths could have been avoided with healthier lifestyle choices.

The organisation has voiced concern over the region's lifestyle habits, with fears locals are fast increasing their risk of preventable cancers.

Research estimates one-third of cancers are due to lifestyle factors including smoking, sun exposure, poor diet, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise or being overweight.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said simple lifestyle adjustments could make a vital difference to a person's short and long term health.

"Visiting your GP to get an overall health check is a great place to start identifying areas you can change to boost quality of life and reduce your lifetime risk of cancer," she said..

"Having a goal weight to work toward, planning a regular exercise regime and assessing your daily eating habits are all important steps.

"Support is also available to help people quit smoking, and reduce alcohol intake."

The report also revealed sun exposure levels in the region were high - with almost half of the Wide Bay population getting sunburnt in the previous year.

Population at risk:

  • 19% of the Wide Bay population smoke daily, compared to the state average of 14%
  • 17% consume risky levels of alcohol on at least one single occasion each week
  • 67% of the population is an unhealthy weight
  • One in two people were sunburnt in the past year