CENTRAL Victorians are more likely to die from coronary heart disease than residents of all but three other regions in the state, according to new Heart Foundation data.
The region's death rate was 16 per cent higher than the statewide average, below only the north west and south west regions.
Central Victoria was the fourth highest Victorian region for rates of coronary heart disease, fifth for heart attack rates, prevalence of obesity and obesity, and sixth for rates of high blood pressure.
The rate of coronary heart disease deaths in central Victoria stands at 71 per 100,000.
Heart attack hospitalisations stand at 16 per 10,000 people, 20 per cent above the state average.
Heart Foundation Victorian chief executive Kellie-Ann Jolly said it was alarming to see the health divide between regional and metropolitan areas across Australia.
Ms Jolly said the stark difference between regional and metropolitan communities was caused by a range of factors, including a lack of services, health risks not being identified early, and economic circumstances.
She called for government to make more investment in health across regional Australia to address the inequity.
"It's ... putting our rural and regional Victorians at greater risk, of heart disease," she said.
"Why should it be that depending on your postcode, where you live, how much money you have, is going to determine your heart health?"
Ms Jolly said individuals and communities could also both play a role in improving the heart health of a region.
She urged individuals to be aware of their level of risk, saying if they were above 45 - or above 30 if of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island background - they should get a health check at their general practitioner, to get an idea of their risk profile.
Ms Jolly said this meant they could then work through what elements of their risk profile they could change, such as inactivity, smoking or high-blood pressure.
She said at a community level enabling people to make behaviour change easily could be anything from creating spaces for walking or cycling, or opportunities for healthy food.
The Heart Foundation data covers the statistical area level four Bendigo region, taking in part or all of Greater Bendigo, the Central Goldfields, Loddon Mallee, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander.
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