The top ‘prize’ that Australian men don’t want

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Australian men have the highest rate of cancer in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), according to an analysis.

A new tool released this week by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW)  compares the nation’s statistics with those from 23 other OECD countries.

The data showed the Australian population generally experienced the second highest rate of cancer – behind Denmark – but that Australian men had the highest rate. Australian women ranked seventh.

However, the AIHW says Australia’s high rate might be due “in part to high-quality and virtually complete cancer incidence data”, The Guardian reports.

“Across OECD countries, the quality and completeness of cancer registry data may vary, in turn affecting the cancer incidence rates provided to the OECD and presented here,” AIHW said.

Australia was in ninth spot on obesity, with 63 per cent of the population aged 15 and over considered either overweight or obese. The OECD average was 58 per cent. Australian men were third on the overweight or obese list, behind the US and Chile.

An Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report released yesterday found that in 2017-18, two-thirds (67 per cent) of Australian adults were overweight or obese – an increase from 63.4 per cent in 2014-15.

In other ABS findings, just under half (47.3 per cent) of Australians had one or more chronic conditions in 2017-18, compared with two-fifths (42.2 per cent) in 2007-08. The most common were:

  • mental and behavioural conditions – 4.8 million people (20.1 per cent)
  • back problems – 4 million (16.4 per cent)
  • arthritis – 3.6 million (15.0 per cent)
  • asthma – 2.7 million (11.2 per cent)
  • diabetes – 1.2 million (4.9 per cent)
  • heart, stroke and vascular disease – 1.2 million (4.8 per cent)
  • osteoporosis – 924,000 (3.8 per cent)
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – 598,800 (2.5 per cent)
  • cancer – 432,400 (1.8 per cent)
  • kidney disease – 237,800 (1 per cent)

Australians were the sixth least likely to smoke within the OECD, but consumed more alcohol than the average.

Since 1995, the proportion of adults who are daily smokers has decreased from 23.8 per cent to 13.8 per cent in 2017-18. The proportion of adults who have never smoked has increased from 49.4 per cent in 2007-08 to 52.6 per cent in 2014-15, and 55.7 per cent in 2017-18.

Men were more likely than women to exceed alcohol consumption guidelines, but the proportion has declined since 2014-15, while the rate for women remains largely unchanged.

The AIHW reports that life expectancy at birth in Australia was 82.5 years – above the OECD average of 80.6 – which put Australia in sixth spot. Japan had the highest life expectancy.

Australians were much less likely to be injured in a road accident, especially compared with New Zealand, where injuries from car crashes were most common across the OECD.

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Written by Janelle Ward

7 Comments

Total Comments: 7
  1. 0
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    Ah – I’ll be fine once they sort out this leukemia thing – just a drop in the bloodstream…

  2. 0
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    Life expectancy 82.5 years, its figures like these that some politicians use to raise the pension age, as if health and wellness continued to these years and the pension was some kind of reward.

    Many of my parents generation were stuffed at 55 and so was I. All of the present generation have had major operations or they would no longer be here

    How can anyone say that Australia has a higher rate of cancer than other nations without separating out skin cancer, that we owe to our climate and our white skinned convict and immigrant beginnings

  3. 0
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    I remember there was another study released in the UK recently, which reported Australia was No. 1 in the WORLD for likelihood of getting Cancer over the next year. Wonder which is true – either way, we need a serious & public response from the Cancer Society and the Federal Govt’s Health Dept to advise on probable causes and PREVENTION methods to be made public.

    That aside, note the statistic “mental and behavioural conditions – 4.8 million people (20.1 per cent)”. We just had another article about Mental Health issues in YLC the other day, where I commented on the possibility of this including people who merely behaved badly. Now we see a statistic which clearly shows the muddied picture e.g. Are people who may use a F word included in this category??? This seems to be a Growth Industry – “Mental Health” just like “Climate Change”! Only Professionally-classified medical conditions should be included in “Mental Health”, not such a vague statistic.

  4. 0
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    It’s all that sunlight…

  5. 0
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    Er, Charlie – I’ve got to 77 without any major ops! And I’m hoping I’ll continue that way.

  6. 0
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    Geez a lot of sick people. All you have to do is cut back on fats, processed junk and alcohol, and eat more veg and fruit.


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