A DECADE ago Central Queensland was regarded as one of the state's heart attack hotspots.
But a new report shows our region is now the second lowest at risk behind Toowoomba (see graph inside).
While it might appear the region, which started the 10,000 Steps program in 2001, is moving in the right direction, Allenstown Medical Centre doctor Geoff Cashion warned that far too many people were still at risk.
The National Heart Foundation of Australia's latest figures show 21.2% of our population has heart disease, compared to Mackay's 25.6% and the state average of 21.7%.
The report said 22.5% of our residents had high cholesterol compared to the state average of 30.8%.
"It's good to see that Central Queensland is doing a little better than other regional parts of the state but we have improvements to make in regards to our risk factors," Dr Cashion said.
"Conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes can lead to worse problems in the future.
"It's important to see your GP regularly to control these risk factors with appropriate lifestyle factors.
"While people in this region have a fairly active lifestyle, we still have parts of our population that need to be looking at improving our health by getting a few kilos off."
Dr Cashion said doing 30 minutes of exercise three times a week was a minimum and good place to start.
The report also shows close to 70% of the Fitzroy region's population is overweight.
As well as the cardiovascular disease and obesity rates, 24.4% of people in the Rockhampton region smoke and 64.2% of residents are classed as inactive.
Meanwhile in Mackay, as well as 25.6% of the population suffering cardiovascular disease, 76.6% are overweight.
Queensland Heart Foundation health director Rachelle Foreman said high blood pressure and high cholesterol were a problem across the state and significantly higher in regional areas.
The figures were lower in the Brisbane areas, while people in the Wide Bay area were lacking sufficient exercise, with their inactive rate sitting at 72.5%.
"Our lifestyles are letting us down and if we don't take action to change they could well kill us," Ms Foreman said.
This refers to diseases of the heart and blood vessels
It includes conditions such as coronary heart disease, strokes, heart failure, rheumatic heart disease and hypertension (high blood pressure)