Gather Round

Free heart and diabetes checks for footy fans at Gather Round AFL Weekend in South Australia

Footy fans at AFL Gather Round will benefit from free heart and diabetes checks, thanks to a new initiative by the South Australian Government, The Shane Warne Legacy and SiSU Health.

The South Australian Government has formed a partnership with SiSU Health, The Shane Warne Legacy, and Flinders University, launching a health initiative targeting football spectators. From April 4 to April 7, during the AFL Gather Round, free heart and diabetes checks will be offered to the public, aiming to monitor at least 9,000 attendees. The programme is focussed on raising consciousness of cardiovascular and metabolic health and related risks.

The free health checks will be held at four festival sites within the Gather Round, namely: Adelaide Oval, Elder Park, Norwood Oval, and Mount Barker.

Following the untimely death of cricket superstar Shane Warne due to a heart attack at the age of 52, The Shane Warne Legacy was created to encourage public awareness of cardiovascular health. The heart checks conducted at Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test marked the first initiative of the Legacy, where approximately 7,601 individuals received a Heart Check.

At the AFL Gather Round, attendees will be monitored for several health risk indicators such as blood pressure, heart rate, heart age and diabetes risk (AUSDRISK), among others. Once assessed, results will be available on the spot via the SiSU Health mobile app. This crucial tool not only offers a Heart Age estimate but also suggests individuals with high blood pressure or BMI above 35 to consult their GP.

The primary aim of this screening process is to enhance health outcomes and lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes through early detection, treatment, and lifestyle alterations.

Australia’s leading cause of death, as per data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is heart disease. It is accountable for one Australian life every 28 minutes, and over 50,000 Australians bear heart attacks annually. Shockingly, Type 2 Diabetes impacts 1.3 million Australians, forecasting significant growth and correlated healthcare expenses.

Medical scientists from the International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing at Flinders University will also carry out cholesterol and diabetes checks at the event.

Peter Malinauskas, the South Australian Premier, stated, “South Australians saw Shane Warne perform magnificent feats at the Adelaide Oval. We are proud to collaborate with SiSU Health, The Shane Warne Legacy, and Flinders University during the AFL Gather Round Weekend to ensure his impact continues to be felt across our state.”

He added, “Major health screening initiatives like this one are vitally important to improve the overall health of our population and ease the burden on our health system.”

The Shane Warne Legacy CEO, Helen Nolan, said, “We’re excited to turn this into the largest health screening event in Australia to date, aiming to promote better health for all. I urge everyone attending Gather Round to spend just 4 minutes for this essential screening test.”

Professionals such as Noel Duncan, Founder and Managing Director, SiSU Health and Professor Colin Stirling, Vice Chancellor, Flinders University expressed their excitement to collaborate with the South Australian Government to provide free health checks and play a role in improving public health during the AFL Gather Round.

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