Australia’s Health 2018 was released today and this article aims to give you a quick summary of this report. Firstly we expect our boys born last year to live to be 80.4 years old, while our girls get to live longer at 84.6 years. There is no surprise then that most of us rate our health as good or better.
In relation to some of the key trends, our rate of heart attacks continues to fall, as does profound core limitations. We continue to reduce our smoking and drinking rates and our educational attainments are on the rise. However, hospitalisations from poisoning or injury are increasing and we continue to put on weight. I highly recommend you have a quick look over this table of selected trends in Australia’s health from the 2018 report.
Leading causes of Mortality
The leading causes of death by age, showed that suicide is still the leading cause of of death in 1-44 year olds, then coronary heart disease in 45+ year olds.
Furthermore, there has been little change to the leading causes of death in male and females as seen in the image below.
Leading causes of morbidity by burden of disease
You can see a similar trend in the burden of disease across our population. The table below shows the burden by age and compares males and females (something you need to be able to do). However, all cancers combined are still the leading cause of disease burden in our country.
One of our major concerns is that we have a growing population living with chronic diseases, with 50% of us having a chronic disease and almost a quarter of us having 2 chronic diseases. These include the rising rate of diabetes, mental illnesses and of course our rates of coronary heart disease and dementia.
One of the largest concerns is the continual increase in people who are overweight or obese. Nearly two thirds of adults in Australia are overweight or obese and this is contributing to many other issues, including the rise of diabetes in Australia. If we reduced our weigh to normal it would have a dramatic effect on our health as a nation.
Across the country, specific groups of people still suffer worse health than other Australians. Specifically, socioeconomically disadvantaged people, rural and remote people and the aged all have worse health than others. But, one of the biggest differences is between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people groups and other Australians. However, improvements in the social determinants of health, such as education levels completed, are helping to improve these gaps.