Injured at Work? Steps to Follow to Ensure You’re Covered.

In Australia, nearly 43 out of every 1000 workers suffer a work-related injury or illness each year. Work-related injuries are responsible for lost productivity and lost wages, putting a huge damper on the economy. This makes injuries at work, not just a personal hardship, but a national issue.

If you are injured at work, you may be entitled to benefits under Australia’s WorkCover programme. While it is important to check the details of your state’s programme, the general rules and steps to ensure coverage is similar. All employers must have a worker’s compensation policy in place to help employees who are injured on the job take off the necessary time to heal and recover. Find out the proper steps to make sure that you receive your entitled benefits.

What Injuries Are Included?

In general, if you are hurt while you are working for your employer and need medical care so that you are fit to continue working, then you may be able to get help through WorkCover. The following work-related injuries are usually covered:

  • Industrial deafness
  • A moderate to major cut
  • Fracture or bone injury
  • Injury while travelling to or from work
  • Injury while on a work recess
  • Psychological disorders as a result of being overworked or stressed at work

If you already have a pre-existing medical condition, such as heart disease, depression, or another chronic illness, you may also be entitled to benefits if your illness is aggravated due to work.

Step One – Take Care of Your Health

The first step that you should follow is to get the treatment that you need. When faced with a a serious injury or life-threatening situation at work, call 000 for emergency services. It is also important to notify your employer immediately. Your employer can help evaluate your situation and contact appropriate emergency assistance, if you haven’t done so already.

You will need to see a doctor in order to receive worker’s compensation. This is a way of verifying the situation and validating the cost of your care and recovery time to the insurance company. Make sure you keep all documentation of your visit, and let your doctor know that you will be filing for a work-related injury.

Step Two – Paperwork

Your employer will likely need to report the incident to your state’s Health and Workplace Safety agency. In some states, such as Victoria, you have to notify your employer in writing within 30 days of the incident in order to be eligible. If you can’t write a report yourself, someone can write it on your behalf.

Should you lodge a claim? WorkCover exists to help cover the costs of lost wages and treatment for a work-related injury or illness. If you lost work because of your injury or if you had to pay for treatment, then you can lodge a claim with the WorkCover programme through your state.

As long as you have already taken the appropriate steps: notifying your employer, getting necessary care, and keeping all receipts and any other forms of documentation, this should be a straightforward process.

Step Three – Rehabilitation

Once your claim is lodged, your state will let you know what benefits you are eligible for as soon as possible. Make sure you take care of all your paperwork right away, as it will take time for your claim to be processed. Waiting longer than 30 days may make you ineligible.

Now, it’s time to heal and recover – and to inform your state’s WorkCover program when you expect to return to work. Depending on your situation, you may need to take part in rehabilitation to help you return to work; this is also included in WorkCover. Rehabilitation can include ongoing medical treatments after you have returned to work, as well as performing alternative duties until you have fully recovered.

If you are injured, the best thing you can do is seek treatment and take care of your claim as quickly as possible. Coordinate with your employer, your doctor, and your state’s programme. Then, take care of yourself so you can restore your quality of life and get back to work.

Learn about Total Permanent Disability Insurance and how it can ensure your life goes on after sudden drastic changes.


(Feedsy Exclusive); (Article source here)

High carb diet worse than high fat, study shows.

Health experts have controversially called for an overhaul of dietary guidelines after a large international study found a diet high in carbohydrate is associated with greater risk of premature death, not a diet high in fat.

A study of more than 135,000 people from 18 countries, published in the respected medical journal The Lancet, found diets high in carbohydrates were associated with a 28 per cent higher risk of death, compared to low carbohydrate diets.

Diets with a high total fat intake were associated with a 23 per cent lower risk of death, compared to low fat.

“Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke. Global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings,” the authors concluded.

The current guidelines recommend that 50-65 per cent of a person’s daily calories come from carbohydrates, and less than 10 per cent from saturated fats.

The study found the average global diet consisted of at least 60 per cent carbohydrate.

In light of the findings, lead author Dr Mahshid Dehghan at McMaster University, Canada would like the carbohydrate recommendation reduced.

“The current focus on promoting low-fat diets ignores the fact that most people’s diets in low and middle income countries are very high in carbohydrates, which seem to be linked to worse health outcomes,” Dr Dehghan said.

“A certain amount of carbohydrate is necessary to meet energy demands during physical activity and so moderate intakes, of around 50-55 per cent of energy, are likely to be more appropriate than either very high or very low carbohydrate intakes,” he added.

The study conclusions have received a mixed reaction from Australian health experts.

Dr Alan Barclay is a consultant dietitian and nutritionist and a Research Associate at the University of Sydney, and says it is an observational study which only shows associations, not proven causes.

“The conclusions of the paper are overstated, a major overhaul of existing dietary guidelines is not warranted based on this additional evidence,” said Dr Barclay.

Professor Amanda Lee – a senior advisor at The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre – says a major limitation of the study is that it does not mention what foods the macronutrients came from.

The experienced nutritionist suggests that it’s carbohydrate from added sugars and refined grains that is “problematic” and said the findings may not translate in Australia.

“The upper levels of intakes of carbohydrate reported in the study are much higher and the lower intakes of fats are very much lower than consumed here,” Prof Lee explained.

However, Professor John Funder at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research says what the study shows is that fats – saturated, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated – are not the “no-no” most people have been brought up to believe.

“So go for dairy, olive oil and even the occasional wagyu beef burger, have lots of grains, fruit and vegetables, and lay off the sweet stuff – especially the empty calories in the 16 teaspoonfuls of trouble in sugar-sweetened soft drinks,” Prof Funder said.


Sarah Wiedersehn (Australian Associated Press); (Article source here)

Things to think about before helping your kids buy a home.

House prices have risen hugely in Australia in recent years, especially on the Eastern seaboard. This has led to a lot of parents helping their children to afford their first homes. But this isn’t always as sensible and straightforward as it seems – there are a number of things parents should be thinking about before taking on such a big commitment.

How safe is it to be a guarantor?
Many parents now act as guarantors to enable their children to buy their first properties. This often reduces the cost of the child’s mortgage, as it is secured on their parents’ home as well as their own. This is why it’s a big risk to take. In the event of your child being made redundant or falling ill, they may find themselves unable to keep up with the repayments. The responsibility then falls on the guarantor – in extreme cases, the parents can lose their own home.

Acting as a guarantor on your child’s mortgage can also affect your own ability to borrow. If you need to take out a loan for something else, the additional risk of your child’s property may cause lenders to decide you won’t be able to repay another loan and turn down your application.

Is it a good idea to pay your child’s deposit?

Paying a deposit on your child’s property helps them with the initial outlay and then leaves them with sole responsibility for paying the mortgage. This is often seen as a more responsible option, particularly as it’s all legally documented – you have to sign a statutory declaration stating that your child is not expected to repay you for the cost of the deposit. Banks look upon it as a gift, and it can also be a good way of preparing your child for the financial responsibility of a mortgage, as they are likely to have to keep the money in their bank account for a period of time – usually three to six months, depending on their mortgage lender and policy. This is to demonstrate to the lender that they are capable of being sensible with their money, so they’re likely to be able to pay back a home loan.

However, it’s not without risk. For a start, if your child ends up getting divorced, the money you have invested in them could ultimately go to their ex-spouse. The other main problem is that many parents are over-generous in the properties they pay deposits on. This can cause future financial hardship for their children, who end up living in properties they can’t afford to run.

What about going into partnership with your child?

Some parents now choose to buy a property in partnership with their children, but like all partnerships, this can have its own problems. Your child may meet a partner who ends up moving into the property with them, at which point they’re likely to want to make changes and have more financial control over their home.

There’s also the risk of either the parents or child being tempted to draw equity from the property to pay for something they want, which can cause feuds within families and leave everybody’s financial security at risk.

Where’s the money coming from?

If you plan to help your child financially, you have to think carefully about where you’re going to get the money from. A lot of parents now are drawing money from their superannuation accounts to help their children buy property. If you go down this route, you need to take into account the fact that you’re likely to live longer than previous generations, and you may need the extra money to pay for your own care in old age.

Some parents are getting round this by having a “granny flat” arrangement, where they sign their property over to their child in return for the child agreeing to care for their parents when they’re old. However, this can cause problems where there is more than one child in the family – you want to be able to treat all your children equally, but you can only sign the property over to one of them.

Get the right advice

Ultimately, if you do intend to help your adult children get onto the property ladder, the right solution is something for you and your children to work out between you. As with all financial arrangements, it’s highly advisable to seek independent financial advice and make sure everything is documented legally, so there can be no disputes in the future.

It’s also worth remembering that not all support has to be financial – your child can benefit just as much from your help with saving tips and drawing up a financial plan to make sure they stay on top of their home loan repayments. This can also bring you closer to them, as sometimes it’s worth more than money just to know you have someone on your side to help you make those big decisions.

(Feedsy Exclusive);(Article source here)

Why is it worth paying extra for life insurance?

There are a huge variety of life insurance products on the market. Some seem to cost a lot more than others. Do the cheaper options really provide value for money?

The types of life insurance cover
Life insurance is there to provide an income for you or your family if you were to become seriously ill, be injured in an accident or die unexpectedly. In order to choose the right policy, it’s important to look at your individual circumstances and decide what type of cover you need.

There are four different types of cover that are all classed as life insurance. It’s possible that you might even need more one of these:

  1. Life cover: This pays out a fixed amount of money when you die to the people you have named as your beneficiaries.
  2. Total and Permanent Disability cover (TPD): This type of cover pays out a lump sum to you to help with your general living costs and rehabilitation if you become totally and permanently disabled. Many life cover policies also include TPD.
  3. Trauma cover: Also known as critical illness cover or recovery insurance, this helps with your living costs if you are seriously injured or diagnosed with a specified, life-changing illness such as cancer or a stroke.
  4. Income protection: This provides you with the income you will lose if you are unable to work as a result of illness or injury.

What you should look for in life insurance cover

As everyone’s circumstances are different, you need to look for a policy that meets your individual needs. Firstly, the policy needs to be affordable, as you may not be covered if you default on any of your premiums.

However, that doesn’t mean the cheapest options are always a sensible choice. You need to make sure the policy will pay out enough money for your dependants to survive on if your income was no longer there. Take into account all your expenditure such as your home loan, household bills and your children’s education – do your dependants have enough in savings and investments to cover these costs? Your life insurance policy should be able to make up the shortfall.

Don’t forget, you may already have life insurance cover through your super fund. Before you purchase a policy, you should check if you have this cover and if it meets your needs.
If you do intend to purchase a life insurance policy, it’s important to shop around and compare what different providers are offering to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

The pros and cons of cheap life insurance policies

Cheap policies are often known as “term insurance.” It is possible to get a good deal this way – many low-cost policies do offer large payouts. However, it’s important to be aware of the conditions attached.

Term policies are flexible as you can choose when you want cover – you’re only covered for the amount of time you keep paying your premiums. If you stop paying, however, and then want to resume your cover at a later date, it’s likely to be more expensive as your increased age will make you more likely to make a claim. This is linked to another disadvantage of term policies – they have time limits. When your policy runs out, you may find yourself having to pay a lot more to get a new policy.

In addition, term insurance policies do not give refunds – if you outlive the term of your policy without making a claim, or if you change your mind and want to cancel your policy, you won’t get back any of the money you’ve paid in.
You should also be aware of cheap joint policies – these often do not offer the same amount of cover for both partners. One of you could be left without insurance if the worst were to happen.

Do you need different cover depending on your life stage?

Your life insurance needs will change throughout your life, so it’s important to have a policy that’s appropriate for your age and personal circumstances. A cheaper policy can make sense if you’re young and single, as you have no dependents. As you get older, however, you’re likely to have more financial obligations. A partner and children might well have to be factored in, as will commitments such as a home loan, so you’ll need a higher level of cover.

However, later in life, you may be able to revert to a less expensive policy, as your children will have left home and your mortgage will be paid off. In this case, your level of expenditure is lower. This means you and/or your partner would need less income in the event of you not being able to work.

Please remember, however, that life insurance policies get more expensive the older you are when you apply. Statistically, you’re more likely to run into health problems as you age, which means you are more likely to make a claim.

Should you regularly review your cover?

As your personal circumstances change, your insurance needs will too. This is why it’s essential to review your cover regularly to check it will provide you with the level of protection you need. This is particularly important during major life changes such as having a baby, taking out a home loan or changing your employment status, for example, if you decide to start your own business.

Life insurance is there to help you meet the challenges and experiences of life without having too much financial worry. This is why it’s vital to get it right and to seek advice.


(Feedsy Exclusive);(Article source here)

Preparing your property and assets for a storm.

With the wintery weather upon us, it’s never been more important to make sure your home is protected from the elements. So what are the best ways to prepare your property and assets for increasingly stormy winters?

1. Perform maintenance regularly

Exposure to the elements can cause the condition of your property to deteriorate over time. Sun, wind, and rain can all cause extensive damage that, if left, can be very expensive to fix. This is why it’s vitally important to make and stick to a regular maintenance plan.

Having your home inspected periodically by a professional builder can be a great place to start, as they will be able to tell you how structurally sound your home currently is, and which areas may need attention. This is particularly important if your home was constructed before 1981 – properties built after this date were subject to new Australian Building Standards which include measures to prevent damage from storms and cyclones.

2. Be aware of the main danger zones

Certain areas of your home need special attention to make sure they’re storm ready. Some of the most common types of damage sustained by Australian homes during storms include:

  • Rotten timbers failing
  • Unreinforced masonry walls collapsing
  • Windows and doors being blown open or broken
  • Damage to the roof and attachments such as gutters, eaves and fascias
  • Structural damage to walls and ceilings

These areas of your home are all particularly vulnerable. Even if they’ve recently come through a storm apparently unscathed, they may be weakened and less able to withstand the next one, so it’s important to check them regularly and keep them well maintained.

3. Carry out proper roof maintenance

It’s important to check the condition of your roof at least once a year. Before the winter hits is a good time to do this. Getting inside the roof space enables you to check for damage before you actually get on the roof – if you can see any light coming through, this means there are holes or cracks which need repairing. This is also a good vantage point for making sure your roof timbers are in good order and showing no signs of rot, damp or termite damage.

Once you’re actually on the roof, you should replace any missing or broken tiles, and make sure no dirt has built up underneath the tiles, as this can prevent water from draining properly. You should also clear your gutters of any leaves and other blockages, to make sure water doesn’t overflow into your roof cavity.

Remember, working at height is dangerous – it’s advisable to consult a professional roofer.

4. Prepare your yard

Keeping your yard tidy is an essential part of storm preparation. Outdoor furniture and garden sheds should be properly secured to make sure they can’t be picked up by strong winds. Sports and play equipment and other heavy items should be put away and stored somewhere safe. It’s also a good idea to park your car in an area away from trees and power lines to minimise the risk of it getting damaged by anything falling on it.

Make sure your drains are clear to help prevent water pooling and flooding and trim any trees or overhanging branches that could possibly fall on your property during a storm – remember to check with the local council before you do this, as you may need permission. It’s advisable to have your trees inspected by a qualified tree surgeon, who will be able to identify hazards such as root damage.

5. Extra precautions

Some additional planning can help make your home extra-safe from storm damage:

  • Use masking tape on your windows to help prevent breakages.
  • Place sandbags over indoor drains in case of flooding – this will guard against sewage being washed into your home.
  • Unplug any electrical items and disconnect your TV aerial.
  • Make sure you have emergency supplies on hand in case your home loses power. These should include a supply of drinking water, fuel for the car and any essential medications you are taking.

Being prepared for storms is the best way to make sure your property can weather the weather, as and when it hits.


(Feedsy Exclusive);(Article source here)

Preparing your personal income tax return.

It’s the end of the financial year. That means you need to lodge your personal tax return. This can often be a complex process but it can be made much quicker and simpler if you make sure you have all the essential information ready to give to your accountant when you’re meeting to prepare your return. It will also ensure you only end up paying the amount of tax you actually owe. Here’s what you need to provide.

Essential information

Your accountant will need some basic personal information from you to begin with:

  • Proof of identification
  • Your bank account details, so you can have your refund deposited directly into your account
  • Your MyGov login, if you’ve previously used MyTax or e-tax
  • Your PAYG summary
  • Your Medicare card or number, if you want to pre-fill your medical expenses
  • If you have private health insurance, you will also need to provide your insurance statement.

Details of your income and expenditure

As well as your PAYG summary, your accountant will also need to see information about any other income you have. You will need to provide:

  • Payment summaries from any super funds you have
  • Receipts for gifts or donations you’ve received
  • Details of child support payments you’ve made
  • Details of your second job if you have one
  • Information on rental or holiday let properties you own
  • Information on any investments you’ve made
  • Details of any foreign income
  • The amount of interest your bank account has accumulated.

If you’re married, you will also have to give details of your spouse’s income and expenditure. This is because some tax obligations and benefits are assessed using the income of your family as a whole, rather than just your individual income – these include any tax offsets on medical expenses.

Claiming work-related expenses

Your accountant will need to see all invoices and receipts for work-related expenses you’re claiming. If you don’t provide receipts, the maximum amount you can claim is $300 – that’s why it’s vital that you keep all your receipts throughout the year and make sure your financial records are accurate and up-to-date.

To claim work-related expenses over $300, you’ll also need to supply other related information, such as credit card statements, BPay receipt numbers, your travel logbook and Home Office logbook.

If you own a rental property

If you own a rental property, you have to include this as an additional source of income. You will have to provide your accountant with the amount of rental income you’ve earned but you will also need to prove the expenditure – how much interest you’ve had to pay on money you borrowed to buy the property, and any other expenses you’ve had relating to the property, including capital works.

If your rental property is a holiday let, the rules are slightly different. You can only claim deductions for the period of time that it’s available for rent. If you’ve stayed there personally during this financial year or you’ve let friends or family stay there for free, you can’t claim for these periods.

Any expenses claimed for a property you own with your spouse must be split down the middle of both tax returns – you can only claim for the percentage of the property you own.

If you live or work overseas part of the time

Anyone living or working overseas for part of the year still has to file a tax return in Australia. You mustn’t forget to declare all income you receive from other countries. This can include:

  • Employment
  • Pensions and annuities
  • Capital gains on assets you hold overseas
  • Income from overseas investments
  • Income from a business based overseas.

Questions to ask your accountant

You should ask your accountant about any deductions you may be entitled to. These can include motoring expenses – if you use your car to travel between different workplaces or have to carry heavy objects in your car, you may be entitled to deductions. You can’t claim for driving to or from work, however.

If you work from home, you can claim deductions for home office equipment and services, such as IT-related expenses, stationery, and even a percentage of your phone and energy bills.

You may even be entitled to a deduction based on any money you’ve given to charity this year. It’s important to mention all these things and any other circumstances you feel will affect the amount of tax you should be paying to your accountant, so they can advise you.

Don’t forget…

The ATO is thorough and will spot any errors or omissions in your tax return. It’s vital that you use accurate, provable figures instead of guessing anything.

If you make a mistake, however, and realise after you’ve lodged your tax return, or if something changes such as receiving an updated payment summary when you have already sent your tax return in, you can ask for your income tax assessment to be amended.

The best way to ensure you’ve provided all the correct information and maximised your claims is to call your accountant. Accountants are tax professionals and will be able to make the tax process far more efficient and less stressful.

It’s also advisable to seek help and assistance from your Financial Adviser.
(Feedsy Exclusive)
(Article source here)

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Top 5 best personal budgeting tips, no matter what your income.

A new financial year is upon us. The best way to own it is to plan now! Here are five of the best tips for making a personal or family budget, and sticking to it. Smart budgeting allows you to have enough for the things you enjoy, no matter what your age or income.

1. Work out your income and expenditure

The best place to start when you’re creating a budget for yourself or your family is to work out what comes in against what goes out each month. Write a list of your sources of income – your salary, any additional income from investments such as rental property, and interest on your bank accounts. Your income has to be factual rather than speculative, though – even if you’re due a pay rise or inheritance, don’t include them if they haven’t already happened.

Then work out your monthly expenses. Regular outgoings will include your mortgage or rent, insurance and household bills. Estimate your other expenditures, such as grocery and clothes shopping, as best you can.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to have a realistic idea of where you need to make savings. You should aim to:

Earn more than you spend
Be able to afford occasional indulgences such as holidays, tickets to concerts or sports events, and dinner with friends
Put some money away each month as savings and to cover the cost of emergencies.
2. Make some necessary changes

This is often the most difficult part. You need to take a look at your expenditure and work out how much of it that you actually need to spend. If you haven’t been to the gym for months, you should cancel your membership. If you spend a lot on clothes, could you save yourself money by shopping at factory outlets or online? Even the cost of buying your lunch each day could shock you into making sandwiches to take to work. Small savings add up into much larger amounts over time.

You can also make savings by spreading the cost of big events like Christmas over the whole year, keeping an eye out for presents whenever the sales are on. This will save you spending out drastically in December and running up a huge credit card bill in January to make up the shortfall.

Don’t aim to deny yourself all the things you enjoy; just be sensible about what you spend to avoid unnecessary waste.


3. Make sure you’re getting the best deals

If you want to stick to your budget, it’s important to continually shop around, instead of sticking with your current arrangements out of convenience or habit. Some of these changes are really easy to make – you can save a lot of money on your grocery bills, for example, by shopping at budget supermarkets like Aldi.

Visit price comparison sites to make sure you’re getting the best deals on your energy, insurance and other services such as mobile phone and broadband. Families can often save money by choosing a bundled package for their phone and internet services, as these often work out cheaper than individual contracts. You should also consider switching your bank account and credit card if you could get better interest rates elsewhere.

Remember, if you do find a better deal on any of the services you use, you’re perfectly within your rights to ask your current provider if they’re prepared to match or better it. Many of them will in order to keep your business.


4. Adopt a more energy efficient lifestyle

You can live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle by making a few simple changes. It won’t just save you money; you’ll also know you’re doing your bit to protect the planet!

If you’re buying any new appliances, make sure you go for the most energy-efficient models. This could save you hundreds of dollars each year in household bills. Also, make sure you switch off all your appliances when they’re not in use, rather than just leaving them on standby, to reduce unnecessary energy use.

Make the most of the rebates offered for energy efficiency schemes. These vary between states, so check what’s available where you live. Many states now offer rebates on initiatives such as water-saving appliances and rainwater tanks.


5. Consider using a budgeting app

There are now many apps available which enable you to budget easily using your smartphone. These can be helpful because they can show you where you stand with all your sources of income rather than just your bank account. You can also set spending limits. The app will track what you spend and alert you when you approach your limit. Budgeting apps can also be useful for setting yourself financial goals and monitoring your progress.

There are a wide variety of budgeting apps on the market now for all the most popular operating systems – it’s worth doing some research to find the one that’s right for you.

Remember, budgeting isn’t about denying ourselves the things that make our lives enjoyable. It’s simply about giving ourselves a fair deal. No matter what we earn or where we live, none of us should be paying over the odds for goods and services we can get for less somewhere else. And with a little planning, you can achieve the lifestyle you want, and have a little put aside for a rainy day.


Consulting your financial adviser and accountant is always a good idea too.

(Feedsy Exclusive)July 26, 2017
(Article source here)


Chocolate may prevent irregular heart beat

Moderate consumption of chocolate has been linked to a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF), an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to stroke if untreated.

Research published in the journal Heart found the rate of AF was lower for people consuming chocolate regularly, compared with individuals reporting chocolate intake less than one 30 gram serve per month, with similar results for men and women.

The association was found to be strongest when women consumed one weekly serving of chocolate and between two to six servings for men.

AF is the most common cardiac rhythm disorder in clinical practice and is independently associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure and death.

Symptoms include heart palpitations, fatigue and shortness of breath or breathlessness.

Researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the Duke University Medical Centre analysed data from more than 55,000 participants, aged between 50 and 64, from the population-based Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study.

Participants provided information on their usual weekly chocolate consumption, with one serving classified as 30 grams, but weren’t asked to specify which type of chocolate they ate.

Information on heart disease risk factors, diet, and lifestyle – roughly one in three smoked – was obtained when the participants were recruited to the study.

Their health was then tracked using national registry data on episodes of hospital treatment and deaths.

During the monitoring period, which averaged 13.5 years, 3346 new cases of atrial fibrillation were diagnosed.

After accounting for other factors related to heart disease, the newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation rate was 10 per cent lower for 1-3 servings of chocolate a month than it was for less than one serving a month.

The risk of AF was 17 per cent lower for one weekly serving; 20 per cent lower for two to six weekly servings; and 14 per cent lower for one or more daily servings.

“Despite the fact that most of the chocolate consumed in our sample probably contained relatively low concentrations of the potentially protective ingredients, we still observed a robust statistically significant association,” the authors wrote.

While no firm conclusions can be made about the cause for the association, the authors suggest that “dark chocolate may be a healthy snack option” that helps to prevent the development of AF.

However, doctors from the Duke Centre for Atrial Fibrillation in North Carolina have urged caution, highlighting that the chocolate eaters in the study were healthier and more highly educated – factors associated with better general health – which might have influenced the findings.

(Source: Sarah Wiedersehn; Australian Associated Press)
(Article source here)


Millennials urged to cook for good health


Australia’s younger generation of foodies need to get out of the cafe and back in the kitchen if they want to keep their weight in check.

A survey commissioned by the Dietitians Association of Australia has found the nation’s cafe culture is entrenched in young adults.

Three quarters of those aged 18-34 eat out or order take-away food at least once a week, and 28 per cent dine out or order in at least three times a week.

That’s significantly more than their parents.

According to the survey, 43 per cent of 50-64-year-olds eat out at least once a week and just 10 per cent dine out regularly.

While eating out is convenient it can be bad for the waistline because of the large portion sizes.

Research shows that people who cook at home eat smaller portions and take in fewer kilojoules, as well as less saturated fat, salt and sugar, resulting in a healthier weight.

DAA spokesman Themis Chryssidis says foodies need to discover the joys of home cooking.

“Why not impress your friends and family by trying your hand at recreating your favourite cafe or restaurant dish at home?”Mr Chryssidis asked.

“Eating is just as much about enjoying food as it is about nourishing our bodies, so it’s great that young Australians are a generation of foodies. We want this love of food to play out in the home kitchen too,” he said.
(Sarah Wiedersehn; Australian Associated Press)
(Article source here)


How do you compare to other renters?


Fears about potential eviction, blacklisting, and rent hikes are stopping one-in-seven Australian tenants from making complaints about or requesting repairs on rental properties.

A report by affordable housing, tenant and consumer groups says there’s an “entrenched culture of fear among renters” and that the significant power imbalance between landlords and tenants must be addressed.

Half of more than 1000 renters surveyed say they are worried that a repair request or complaint could land them on the blacklisted tenancy database, while 14 per cent decide not to risk it, the National Association of Tenants’ Organisations, National Shelter and Choice found.

“People are reluctant to complain to agents or landlords because they’re worried about rent increases or eviction,” a National Association of Tenants Orgnisations’ spokesperson said.

“It’s hard to imagine a product or service this poor in any other sector.”

Almost a quarter waited more than a week to hear back about an urgent repair request and 11 per cent copped a rent hike after asking.

“Affordability is extremely important to renters but it can’t be addressed without also looking at the quality and security of housing,” National Shelter executive officer Adrian Pisarski said.

Every second person surveyed for Unsettled: Life in Australia’s private rental market said they experienced discrimination when applying for a rental, usually over their age or the fact that they received government payments, or because they had young children, pets or were a single parent.

Of the renters surveyed, five per cent felt discriminated against them because of a disability.

“Rachel” – who did not want to use her real name for privacy reasons – fears she is often discriminated against and put in a “too hard basket” by many Melbourne landlords because she has multiple sclerosis and can’t live in a flat or somewhere with too many stairs.

“When we go and have a look at a house, because I can’t get around without my walking stick, I have to say ‘I just use it to balance. I don’t need wall rails or anything like that’,” the 35-year-old told AAP.

“If it looks like there’s going to be a need for any addition to be put in place, we’re not going to get the property.

“I basically had to lie about myself and say ‘my disability isn’t that bad, don’t worry about it’.”

The report calls for a national plan to boost housing supply, particularly affordable housing, and address renter’s security, rights and amenity.


* 83 percent have no fixed-term lease or it’s less a than 12-months long

* 53 percent of renters pay between $201 and $400/wk

* Almost half of renters in metro areas pay more than $301/wk

* The median rent price is Sydney and Melbourne is $480/wk

* 21 percent wait at least a week to hear back about urgent repairs

* 11 percent had a rent hike after asking for repairs

* 14 percent are too scared to complain about something or ask for repairs

* Half feel they’re discriminated against in rental applications.

(Source: Unsettled: Life in Australia’s private rental market)
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