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AIHW reveals the impact of disease and injury in Australia

In 2015, Australians collectively lost 4.8 million years of healthy life due to living with or dying prematurely from disease and injury.

According to the AIHW’s latest Australian Burden of Disease Study, the disease groups causing the most burden were cancer, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal conditions, mental and substance use disorders and injuries.

The burden of disease study and Disease expenditure in Australia were launched by the AIHW at the 2019 Public Health Prevention Conference, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The AIHW presented key statistics relating to burden of disease as well as the risk factors and costs related to disease burden. The institute also released a summary report, highlighting the key findings from the Australian Burden of Disease Study and a joint fact sheet highlighting the human and financial cost of disease and injury.

Despite the impact of disease and injury, the overall health of the Australian population has improved substantially. There was an 11% decrease in the rate of burden between 2003 and 2015, after accounting for the increase in size and ageing of the population. Changes in the disease burden over time and state/territory, remoteness area and socioeconomic group data can be explored with the AIHW’s disease burden visualisations. ­

Most of the improvement in the total burden resulted from reductions in premature deaths from illnesses and injuries, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and infant and congenital conditions.

Further gains, reducing up to 38% of total disease burden, could be achieved by reducing lifestyle-related risk factors. The 5 risk factors that caused the greatest burden in 2015 were tobacco use (9.3%), overweight & obesity (8.4%), dietary risks (7.3%), high blood pressure (5.8%) and high blood plasma glucose (4.7%). The 38 risk factor components or exposures (such as cannabis use) that combine into 18 individual risk factors (such as illicit drug use) can be explored using the AIHW’s risk factor burden data visualisations.

AIHW staff presenting at the Public Health Prevention Conference 2019.

AIHW booth at the Public Health Prevention Conference 2019.

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