Every year in Australia, millions of years of healthy life are lost because of injury, illness or premature deaths in the population. This loss of healthy life is called the ‘burden of disease’ in epidemiological literature.
Burden of disease analysis combines living with poor health (the non-fatal burden of disease) with dying prematurely (fatal burden). Fatal and non-fatal burden combined is referred to as total burden. Burden of disease is recognised as the best method to measure the impact of different diseases or injuries in a population.
This report provides estimates of the total, non-fatal and fatal burden for the Australian population in 2015, using the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) measure. One disability-adjusted life year (or 1 DALY) represents 1 year of healthy life lost, either through premature death (‘years of life lost’ or YLL) or from living with an illness or injury (‘years lived with disability’ or YLD).
DALY estimates are presented for more than 200 diseases, as well as estimates of the burden attributable to more than 30 risk factors, such as tobacco use and physical inactivity. Results are also included for 2003 and 2011 for comparison.
In 2015, Australians lost 4.8 million years of healthy life (DALY) due to:
- What is burden of disease?
- How can burden of disease studies be used?
- What can’t burden of disease studies tell us?
- How is burden of disease measured?
- What is the history of burden of disease analysis?
- What’s new in the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2015 and this report?
2. Total burden of disease
- What is the total burden of disease in Australia?
- How does total burden vary across the life course?
- Which disease groups cause the most burden?
- Which diseases cause the most burden?
- How does disease burden change across the life course?
3. Non-fatal burden of disease
- What is the overall non-fatal burden in Australia?
- How does living with illness vary across the life course?
- Which disease groups cause the most non-fatal burden?
- Which diseases cause the most non-fatal burden?
- How does non-fatal disease burden change across the life course?
4. Fatal burden of disease
- What is the overall fatal burden in Australia?
- How does years of life lost vary at different ages?
- Which disease groups cause the most fatal burden?
- Which diseases cause the most fatal burden?
- How does fatal disease burden change across the life course?
5. Health-adjusted life expectancy
- HALE as a measure of population health
- On average, almost 90% of years lived are in full health
- Years of life gained are healthy years
- HALE is unequal across states and territories
- HALE varies by remoteness of area lived
- HALE is unequal between socioeconomic groups
6. Contribution of risk factors to burden
- How are risk factors selected?
- What is the contribution of all risk factors combined?
- Which risk factors contribute the most burden?
- How do risk factors change through the life course?
7. Changes over time
- How should changes between time points be interpreted?
- How has total burden changed over time?
- How have the non-fatal and fatal burden changed over time?
- How have risk factors changed over time?
8. Variation across geographic areas and population groups
- Burden of disease by state and territory
- Burden of disease by remoteness areas
- Burden of disease by socioeconomic group
9. International context and comparisons
- What is the international context of burden of disease studies?
- Can the ABDS 2015 be compared with international studies?
- How does Australian burden compare internationally?
10. Study developments and limitations
- What are the underlying principles of the ABDS?
- What stayed the same between Australian studies?
- What changes were made in the ABDS 2015?
- What are the data gaps?
- What are the methodological limitations?
- What opportunities are there for further analysis?
Appendix A: Methods summary
- Disease and injury (condition) list
- Fatal burden
- Non-fatal burden
- Total burden of disease
- Health-adjusted life expectancy
- Risk factors
- Overarching methods/choices
Appendix B: How reliable are the estimates?
- ABDS 2015 quality index
Appendix C: Understanding and using burden of disease estimates
- Different types of estimates presented in this report
- Interpreting estimates
- What can estimates from 2015 tell us about 2019?
Appendix D: Additional tables and figures
Appendix E: List of expert advisors
End matter: Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Symbols; Glossary; References; List of tables; List of figures; Related publications