ORANGE man Tim Burfitt says he is more than happy to be one of 140,000 people from rural and regional Australia who is providing information about their daily health as part of a long-term study on ageing.
The Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study began looking at the habits of its 250,000 participants five years ago in a bid to determine who is ageing well, who is not and how they are using health services.
Mr Burfitt, who is manager of intensive livestock industry development at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, agreed to be part of the study because he believed the results would bring benefits for the health and well being of “the general populous”.
“I believe your health is your own responsibly ... it’s all about quality of life,” he said.
“Anything (like this study) that raises people’s awareness about health and the importance of taking care of your health has got to be a good thing.”
Mr Bruffitt said people who did not aim for a reasonable fitness level would find themselves missing out on some of life’s best experiences.
The study’s scientific director, professor Emily Banks said participants should be considered national treasures because they were sharing precious information about their lives in an effort to help the wider community.
“The more we know, the more we can manage and prevent illness,” she said.
“We are asking our participants to tell us how they’re faring five years on so we can unlock the secrets of healthy ageing by better understanding the causes of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression and obesity.
“We are in this for the long haul and committed to recording this moving picture of the nation’s health.”
More than one in 10 NSW men and women aged 45 and over are taking part in the study, giving details about their health, lifestyles and health services used, and allowing researchers to link this to their hospital, general practice, pharmaceutical and other records.
Professor Banks said the study had over-sampled rural and regional residents, giving it the most rural participants of any health study of its kind conducted in Australia.