Australia’s health report card: How we can do better

New report shows half of all Australians suffer from chronic health conditions.

Australia’s health report card

The latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reveals Australia is generally a healthy nation, but there are some key areas where we could do better.

The two–yearly report card, Australia’s Health 2018, shows that Australia is among the top third of OECD countries when it comes to life expectancy, with girls born in 2016 likely to live 84.6 years, while boys can expect to live to 80.4 years.

Fewer Australians are smoking or putting themselves at risk from long–term alcohol use than in the past, and the country is doing well in terms of preventing avoidable deaths.

More than four in every five Australians grade their own health to be at least ‘good’.

But with a population that is living longer, Australia is now experiencing higher rates of chronic and age–related conditions. For example, older Australians use a higher proportion of hospital and other health services, and 75 per cent of all PBS medicines were dispensed to people aged 50 and over.

Long–term health conditions are common
Half of the Australian population has common chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, a mental illness, or cancer. Importantly, almost a quarter of all Australians have two or more of these conditions.

Many chronic health conditions share common preventable risk factors, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and not getting enough exercise. Around one–third of Australia’s ‘disease burden’ is due to preventable risk factors.

About six in 10 adults – or 63 per cent – are either overweight or obese. Carrying too much weight is responsible for seven per cent of Australia’s total disease burden.

Over the past two decades, the proportion of Australians who have a healthy body weight fell, while the proportion who are obese increased. Over the same period, the proportion who are ‘severely obese’ nearly doubled.

AIHW CEO Barry Sandison said that when it comes to obesity, it is not just a case of poor diet or exercise habits.

Rather, a range of factors – biological, behavioural, social and environmental – contribute to the likelihood of a person becoming obese, including the walkability of our cities, rising work hours and increasingly sedentary jobs, larger portion sizes and food advertising.

“Understanding why someone may be obese – or in good or poor health generally – is complex and it’s important to look at the raft of factors across a person’s life that may be at play,’ he said.

Reasons for poor health
The report shows a clear connection between socioeconomic position and health. Compared with people living in Australia’s highest socioeconomic areas, those in the lowest group are almost three times as likely to smoke or have diabetes and twice as likely to die of potentially avoidable causes.

Those in the lowest group are also more likely to have cost barriers preventing them from accessing health services – more than twice as likely to avoid seeing a dentist or filling a prescription due to the cost.

The impact of socioeconomic position on health can also be thought of in terms of disease burden, with those in the lowest socioeconomic group experiencing disease burden 1.5 times higher than those in the highest group.

Mr Sandison noted a similar pattern was seen among people living in remote areas, while certain groups – such as veterans – experience higher rates of mental health conditions, such as depression.

How would you rate your health? What do you think could be done to improve health outcomes in Australia?

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    COMMENTS

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    Old Geezer
    20th Jun 2018
    11:24am
    Too much food and not enough exercise is the problem with our health system.
    tisme
    20th Jun 2018
    12:37pm
    I had a slip and fall due to fruit on the floor in a dark environment . I am suffering as a result, arthritis in the shoulders damaged neck /lower back /trapped nerves in the hips etc one lawyer wouldn't take on my case because I am a carer ( as a carer your not recognised as a worker so there fore your work doesn't suffer") another lawyer I had to go to America and talk to erin brocovich they did take the case on but I got less than 4000.00 after fees. ( because of state compensation laws or some such ( yet others slip on a grape and get 100,00 . Anyway I hurt , god I hurt and cant function like I did, so the tax payer has to pay for it. though there is a lot not covered. compensation laws need changing, carers need to be recognised as workers under Australian law,
    Ted Wards
    20th Jun 2018
    1:03pm
    Whilst i am sorry for this to be happening to you and the lengths you had to go to for assistance, what has this to do with the topic in the article about the health of Australians and how many could avoid many diseases.
    Anonymous
    20th Jun 2018
    1:11pm
    Let me get this straight tisme, you were a carer when you had your fall? Presumably it was in your own house? Therefore should you not be responsible for fruit on the floor? Why should all the rest of us pay?This concept of something going wrong and wanting a payout, is something that is crippling this country.
    And even if it wasn't in your own house, it still sounds dodgy to me. What has Erin Brocovic got to do with a fall in a domestic situation in Australia? Get real!
    MD
    20th Jun 2018
    5:16pm
    Gentlemen, gentlemen, some compassion please - for those of us that carry the can due to insurance premium increases for every 'poor me' who aims to extract the max out of every fall/trip/slip. These sometime erroneous claims expect to fall on their feet but occasionally end up flat on their face. The legal eagle's grin each and every time they win whilst the plaintiff yet grimaces with pain.

    20th Jun 2018
    1:17pm
    I was an administrator in our health system in the 1980/90s. A lot of literature used to come across my desk about health systems around the world. One that particularly interested me was a concept known as health maintenance organizations (HMO's) in the US. This was basically an insurance system you paid into that was designed to keep you healthy. Now the interesting thing about it was that there were clear financial penalties for members who did not give up the fags, or did not get their weight to a predetermined level - so it put the emphasis on the individual to take responsibility for his/her own health. Now HMO's didn't survive in the States, for a number of reasons, but by gee what a fabulous concept!
    MD
    20th Jun 2018
    8:13pm
    "How would you rate your health? What do you think could be done to improve health outcomes in Australia?"
    Rate - better than average. Do what - lots.
    If our regular trips to the shops, where we witness fatties flopped over their shopping trolley, presumably to ease the burden of carrying their excess weight is any indication then I reckon we've got a fat epidemic. Said trolleys are generally full of good wholesome foodstuffs, sadly NOT. Think; potato crisps, coke (diet of course), biscuits, confectionery, bacon, sausages, packet meals & etc are de rigueur. Fruit and veg, anathema - roots, shoots n leaves just boring food for wombats. Few items visible that require some degree of input/perparation prior to cooking.
    Their present burden will likely become a further burden to an already struggling health system. I've witnessed amputees being wheeled outside a public hospital and parked in the sun only to light a fag. As these hopeless cases seem incapable of self help, or simply refuse to try, then the health systems priorities need to be rejigged.
    Strictly speaking, treatment should be ranked thus; all life threatening emergency cases and pregnant women first consideration, secondly children (to age 16), workers third, pensioners thereafter. Drunks, drug busts, drongo's, derro's, dickheads, fags and dirtbags get to sit back and enjoy the waiting room reading material. The affluent, needless to say - ever ready to win favours can, will and do pay for their privilege. They can present anywhere, anytime and go straight to the top of the heap.

    We're democratic after all said and done. Good health.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    21st Jun 2018
    8:47am
    In our regional hospital we now have 2 emergency departments. One for your first group and another for your second group.

    21st Jun 2018
    2:00pm
    The often trotted out excuse "my weight is genetic and that is why I am so overweight". Sorry that just not wash as we must have an awful lot of genetically overweight people in Oz now...70% are overweight I think I read.

    It is all about eating too much of the wrong foods and little exercise. You only have to walk down any city street or visit a shopping mall to see how many are oveweight. If people got back to cooking from scratch as our parents did we would not have this obesity epidemic.

    The plethora of fast food outlets is alarming and it is too easy to pull into one of these establishments on way home from work and pick up something for the family. You are then setting your children up on the obesity cycle. Doctors are now wanting to operate on children to give them gastric bypass surgery...I find that extremely alarming.
    MD
    21st Jun 2018
    5:39pm
    Yeh spot on both of you, thanks. It's high time we stopped pampering to fat sensibilities and encouraging them with namby pamby platitudes to do something about their weight. It's time instead to call fatties out for that which they themselves seem incapable of facing up to. I'd be very interested to learn how many doctors actually admonish their overweight patients. How many fatties when presenting to emergency or call on ambulance services are further overloading the already struggling health services.
    This problem is not confined to age or demographic - nowadays fat bastards seem to be the rule, the remainder - exception proves the rule.
    Anonymous
    22nd Jun 2018
    7:59am
    I heard a medical chap saying only the other night that doctors have to step up and tell patients what they dont want to hear..ie. if you lost weight a lot of you problems would disappear.

    Pandering to peoples' sensibilities is over...tell them the truth.

    However I doubt this will happen as doctors have previously been told NOT to use the word obese as patients get offenced..so polling told them...!!!

    I foresee huge problems in the health system if this problem is not addressed soon.
    '
    beverlyadams0081
    22nd Jun 2018
    4:43pm
    My name is Beverly Adams from United States, I'm here to share my testimony about Dr. Edward Arabba who helped me to cure my HERPES (HSV), i want to inform the public how i was cured from (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) , i visited different hospital but they gave me list of drugs like Famvir, Valtrex and Zovirax which is very expensive to treat the symptoms and never cured me. 8 months ago a friend suggested that I should try herbal medicine; from a very powerful herbal doctor called Dr. Edward Arabba that he has been seeing series of testimonies talking about this herbal man. There were lot of people posting their testimonies about how he cured them. when i contacted him, he requested for some information about me and i gave him. He sent me the medication i took it for 7 days and it seriously worked for me, when i went for check up after I finished taking the medication. my HERPES result just came out negative. My doctor was shocked how i got cured. I am so happy as i am sharing this testimony. My advice to you all who thinks that their is no cure for herpes that is not true just contact him and get cure from Dr. Edward Arabba, he can cure any kinds of STD. Remember your health is your wealth. You can contact him with via this email:
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    beverlyadams0081
    22nd Jun 2018
    6:27pm
    My name is Beverly Adams from United States, I'm here to share my testimony about Dr. Edward Arabba who helped me to cure my HERPES (HSV), i want to inform the public how i was cured from (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) , i visited different hospital but they gave me list of drugs like Famvir, Valtrex and Zovirax which is very expensive to treat the symptoms and never cured me. 8 months ago a friend suggested that I should try herbal medicine; from a very powerful herbal doctor called Dr. Edward Arabba that he has been seeing series of testimonies talking about this herbal man. There were lot of people posting their testimonies about how he cured them. when i contacted him, he requested for some information about me and i gave him. He sent me the medication i took it for 7 days and it seriously worked for me, when i went for check up after I finished taking the medication. my HERPES result just came out negative. My doctor was shocked how i got cured. I am so happy as i am sharing this testimony. My advice to you all who thinks that their is no cure for herpes that is not true just contact him and get cure from Dr. Edward Arabba, he can cure any kinds of STD. Remember your health is your wealth. You can contact him with via this email:
    dredwardarabbatemple@gmail.com
    Mobile Number:+27833153741
    Whatsapp No: +27833153741
    He can also help in the following problems HEPATITIS, CANCER, HIV/AIDS, ZIKA VIRUS, UNABLE TO GET PREGNANT, IMPOTENT, WEAK ERECTION, TINNITUS [RINGING EAR.]


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