23 July 2009

How much disease costs Australia will be the focus of a keynote address by UQ’s Professor Theo Vos at today's Public Health Association of Australia Queensland State Conference.

Professor Vos is the Director of the Centre for Burden of Disease and Cost-Effectiveness at UQ’s School of Population Health.

To be held today and tomorrow at the Queensland University of Technology, the conference will provide a platform to highlight public health initiatives in Queensland.

Kicking off with Professor Vos’s address, the two-day event will feature presentations on topics from the BreastScreen Queensland social marketing campaign, to recent HIV prevention campaign strategies, to complementary medicine practitioners in rural Australia.

Michael Moore, CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia, will present a short advocacy forum.

Mr Moore is a former ACT Health Minister and Adjunct Professor of Health Policy and Governance at the University of Canberra, and has substantial experience in advocating at various government levels.

Event organiser Paul Gardiner, a PhD candidate with UQ’s School of Population Health, said the conference would bring together a diverse group of public health professionals.

“This conference provides an ideal forum for the exchange of ideas,” he said.

“Delegates from Queensland universities, government departments and private industry will meet to explore new ways to improve public health in Queensland.”

Mr Gardiner will give a presentation on a program that encourages older people to be more active, developed as part of his PhD.

“Research from our centre has shown that sitting for long periods of time is linked to weight gain, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,” Mr Gardiner said.

“In consultation with older adults, I have developed a program called 'Stand Up For Your Health' which aims to reduce the amount of time people spend sitting each day.

"Early results indicate that participants are able to reduce their sitting time by an average of 40 minutes per day.”

Media: Mr Gardiner (0401 802 534, p.gardiner@uq.edu.au) or Penny Robinson at UQ Communications (07 3365 9723, penny.robinson@uq.edu.au)