attributable burden: The disease burden attributed to a particular risk factor. It is the reduction in fatal and non-fatal burden that would have occurred if exposure to the risk factor had been avoided (or more precisely had been at its theoretical minimum).

body mass index: The most commonly used method of assessing whether a person is normal weight, underweight, overweight or obese. It is calculated by dividing the person's weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared; that is, kg ÷ m2. For both men and women, underweight is a BMI below 18.5, acceptable weight is from 18.5 to less than 25, overweight is from 25 to less than 30, and obese is 30 and over. Sometimes overweight and obese is combined, and is defined as a BMI of 25 and over.

burden of disease (and injury): The quantified impact of a disease or injury on a population, using the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) measure. Referred to as the ‘burden’ of the disease or injury in this report.

cholesterol: Fatty substance produced by the liver and carried by the blood to supply the rest of the body. Its natural function is to supply material for cell walls and for steroid hormones, but if levels in the blood become too high this can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

chronic diseases: A diverse group of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, which tend to be long-lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases (infectious diseases), the term is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.

condition (health condition): A broad term that can be applied to any health problem, including symptoms, diseases and certain risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol and obesity. Often used synonymously with disorder or problem.

DALY (disability-adjusted life years): Measure (in years) of healthy life lost, either through premature death defined as dying before the expected life span at the age of death (YLL) or, equivalently, through living with ill health due to illness or injury (YLD).

disability: In burden of disease analysis, any departure from an ideal health state.

disease: A broad term that can be applied to any health problem, including symptoms, diseases, injuries and certain risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol and obesity. Often used synonymously with condition, disorder or problem.

fatal burden: The burden from dying ‘prematurely’ as measured by years of life lost. Often used synonymously with YLL, and also referred to as ‘life lost’.

high blood cholesterol: Total cholesterol levels above 5.5 mmol/L.

high blood pressure/hypertension: The definition of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can vary but a well-accepted one is from the World Health Organization: a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more, or [the person is] receiving medication for high blood pressure.

hypertension: See high blood pressure.

linked disease: A disease or condition on the causal pathway of the risk factor, which is therefore more likely to develop if exposed to the risk.

Metabolic equivalent of tasks (METs): A measure of physical activity representing the rate of energy expenditure incorporating the duration and intensity of activity, with one MET equivalent to 1 kcal/kg/hr, which is about the energy expended in sitting, with 1 MET-minute equal to 1 minute of activity at an intensity of 1 kcal/kg/hr.

non-fatal burden: The burden from living with ill health as measured by years lived with disability. Often used synonymously with YLD.

physical activity: Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines (2014) recommend that:

  • Young people (13-17 years) accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday, from a variety of activities including some vigorous.
  • Adults (18-64 years) should be active most days of the week, accumulate 150 to 300 minutes moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity (or an equivalent combination each week), and do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
  • Older Australians (65 years and over) should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.

population attributable fraction (PAF): The proportion (fraction) of a disease, illness, disability or death in a population that can be attributed to a particular risk factor or combination of risk factors.

risk factor: Any factor that represents a greater risk of a health condition or health event. For example, smoking, alcohol use, high body mass.

YLD (years lived with disability): A measure of the years of what could have been a healthy life but were instead spent in states of less than full health. YLD represent non-fatal burden.

YLL (years of life lost): Years of life lost due to premature death, defined as dying before the global ideal life span at the age of death. YLL represent fatal burden.