Free health checks at NRL Magic Round

Published Monday, 13 May, 2024 at 02:32 PM

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

  • Free heart health and blood glucose checks with real-time results will be available at the NRL Magic Round events from May 16 to 19.
  • The Miles Government hopes thousands of Queenslanders will take up the opportunity to #checktheirnumbers, mimicking the success at sporting events in Victoria and South Australia 
  • Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Australian and those living with diabetes are at higher risk.

Queenslanders are being encouraged to put just a few minutes aside to take advantage of free heart health and diabetes checks during the upcoming NRL Magic Round.

Off the back of the hugely successful initiative at Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test and Adelaide’s Gather Round, the Miles Government has teamed up with SiSU Health and Pathology Queensland to give Queenslanders an opportunity to check their health for free.

More than 7,000 Victorians and 8,000 South Australians took advantage of the free checkups and of the thousands of participants at Gather Round, more than half had not had their blood pressure checked in the last 12 months at least.

Alarmingly, 85 per cent of those who returned high blood glucose results were not aware of their status prior to the free checks. Off the back off these results more than half of participants took tangible action to get on top of their health.

The NRL Magic Round is a convenient location to offer these health checks, especially for Queenslanders who may not typically engage with the healthcare system.

We know men particularly have lower engagement with the health system but are also higher risk, so we’re encouraging Queenslanders to grab their mates and use Magic Round as an opportunity to access important health information and get a quick look over.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Australia, claiming one life every 12 minutes. The 1.3 million Australians who are living with Type 2 Diabetes are most at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

However, most heart attacks and strokes are preventable with an understanding of important health indicators, education, and making lifestyle adjustments.

Many people are unaware of their risk factors. Almost 1 in 4 Australian adults have high blood pressure, yet data from Heart Week in 2023 showed that two thirds of people who had their health checked at a SiSU Health Station had not had their blood pressure checked in the last 12 months.

During the NRL Magic Round events, 11 SiSU Health Stations will be available alongside four finger-prick blood glucose check desks. These desks, staffed by Queensland Health’s Pathology Queensland personnel, will offer on-the-spot blood test results.

Anyone aged 16 and over attending or near the event will be able to access the free and quick health check, which will assess weight, height, body mass index, body composition, diabetes risk, blood pressure and heart rate.

People will receive their results directly to their phone through the SiSU Health app in real time. Participants will be encouraged to discuss their results with their GP or pharmacist.

By making these health checks easily accessible it’s great opportunity to start discussions about heart health and promote the significance of maintaining a healthy heart, particularly for NRL fans who were recently shocked by the passing of rugby star Terry Hills last month who also died at 52 of suspected heart attack.

Quotes attributable to the Premier Steven Miles:

“Magic Round has historically been a great way to bring Queenslanders together, so if we can capitalise on those crowds to keep more people safe and healthy, then I am all for it.

“Initiatives like this are crucial for enhancing the overall wellbeing of our population and alleviating pressure on our healthcare system.

“If we make it easier for people to access health screening and learn more about how their bodies work, we can prevent a lot of cardiovascular events and keep more people healthier for longer.

“We hope Queenslanders seize the opportunity to get a free check, just as Victorians did at the Boxing Day Test and South Australians at AFL Gather Round.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Service Shannon Fentiman:

“Playing sports like rugby league helps keep us strong and healthy but we know heart conditions largely go undetected, making health checks crucial.

“It’s why we’re organizing eleven Health Check Stations at this year’s NRL Magic Round.

“Anyone attending can drop in and learn about their heart health in minutes whilst cheering on their favourite team.

“The SiSU Health team will be on the ground delivering results directly to their Health app, making it even easier to #knowyournumbers and start conversations about your health.

“We want every Queenslander to understand their heart health, with cardiovascular disease still the leading cause of death in Australia.

“I want everyone to grab their mates and head down to a tent to get their heart health checked – you never know it just might save a life.”

Quotes attributable to SiSU Health Founder and Managing Director Noel Duncan:

“Based on our data and research, we have seen incredible results: 70 per cent of people who underwent the health check were motivated to improve their health, with over 50 per cent taking tangible action.

“This initiative will undoubtedly have a positive impact on public health and contribute to helping people live longer, healthier lives.

“At SiSU Health, we’re privileged to collaborate with forward-thinking organisations that share our belief in the power of screening, data, and technology to improve health outcomes.

“A special thank you to the teams from Pathology Queensland for their invaluable support in facilitating blood sugar testing contributing to a more complete picture of metabolic and cardiovascular health.”

Quotes attributable to North West Hospital and Health Board Member Steve Renouf: 

"Bringing health awareness to events like the NRL Magic Round is a game-changer—these quick health checks equip individuals with vital information to tackle potential health risks head-on.

"As a former NRL player, I understand the importance of personal health - these free heart and diabetes checks at the Magic Round give attendees a chance to check their vital stats and make informed decisions about their health.

"Men, especially, can sometimes sideline their health—but just like in rugby league, it's those who stay vigilant and proactive that come out on top; with cardiovascular disease still claiming too many lives, these checks are a crucial step in the right direction.

"High blood pressure might be the silent enemy, but it doesn't have to be—through these checks, we're aiming to bridge the gap between awareness and action, ensuring that more Australians stay in the game for longer."