Australians are living longer but lifestyle-related chronic diseases are taking an increasing toll, according to the latest report on the nation’s health.
The report, issued every two years by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), has found Australians are now living an average of 25 years longer than they were a century ago.
A boy born today can expect to live to 79.9 years old, a girl to 84 years.
But Australians are increasingly living with chronic diseases as a result of an ageing population as well as lifestyle and health habits.
AIHW director and chief executive David Kalisch said chronic diseases were often labelled “Australia’s greatest health challenge”.
Key health findings:
- Chronic disease leading cause of illness, disability and death – accounting for 90 per cent of all deaths in 2011.
- More than 3 in 5 adults (63 per cent) are overweight or obese (70 per cent of men, 56 per cent of women)
- Nearly 3 in 5 adults (57 per cent) do not exercise enough
- Only 8 per cent of adults eat enough vegetables
- Only 49 per cent of adults eat enough fruit
- 20 per cent of adults (3.2 million) have experienced mental disorder in past 12 months
- About 45 per cent of adults will be affected by a mental disorder in their lifetime
- 1 in 10 Australians aged 65 and over have dementia
- Nearly 15 per cent of Australians have used illicit drugs in the past 12 months
- Nearly 1 in 5 adults (19.5 per cent) drink more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day
(AIHW: Australia’s Health 2014)
“While not solely related to behavioural factors in all cases, they can be heavily linked to smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and the harmful use of alcohol,” he said.
“This can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and mental health issues.”
Three in five adults are overweight, almost 60 per cent do not exercise enough and only 8 per cent are eating enough vegetables, the report found.
Chronic diseases continue to be the leading cause of illness, disability and death, accounting for 90 per cent of all deaths in 2011.
Many people have more than one chronic disease, which increases with age.
Do you know your numbers?
- What is your Blood Pressure?
- What is your Cholesterol?
- What is your Waist to Hip ratio?
- How much exercise do you do a week?
- How many alcohol free days do you have a week?
- How many servings of fruit and vegetables should you have a day?
- Do you know the difference between ‘GOOD’ fats and ‘Bad’ fats