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Health & Well Being

Among the factors significant in identifying Melbourne as being one of the world's most liveable cities was the good health and well-being experienced by its citizens. Australians generally enjoy a high standard of living, nourishment and economic well-being and this is particularly true of a major metropolitan centre like Melbourne. Its climate is beneficial, although colds and influenza often accompany the winter months. Another contributing factor to the health of citizens is the widespread availability and high standards of medical services. Many improvements in well-being are due to interventions on the part of government, advances in the practice of medicine and the regulation by public authorities and professional bodies, of both a professional and commercial nature. Basic health services are subsidised by the Federal Government but Melburnians also have access to extensive ancillary, specialist and alternative health services, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, podiatrists, dentistry and dental health, dieticians, and nursing services. A system of public and private hospitals, financed by State Government and private and public health insurance systems, is, by international standards, well endowed and equipped; although the location, adequacy and cost of health care is a frequent subject of political debate. The extent to which issues of poverty and wealth have a bearing on health and access to health care is a subject of continuing concern. Old age is a factor with the increased risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia all increasing. Elderly citizens are more likely to use services provided by the medical profession and, although Melbourne remains a healthy place, the cost of maintaining that status is increasing as the population ages.