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Date posted: 25 June 2014
A report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Australia's health 2014, shows that despite general good health, lifestyle-related chronic diseases are a leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia.
AIHW Director and CEO David Kalisch said, 'On the positive side our report shows that we have increasingly longer life expectancy, lower death rates for cancer and many other diseases, and a health system that people say they are mostly happy with. On the 'room for improvement' side, we see that Australians are increasingly living with ongoing or 'chronic' diseases and their risk factors-which are related to our ageing population as well as to lifestyles and health habits.'
'Chronic diseases have often been called 'Australia's greatest health challenge' - and while not solely related to behavioural factors in all cases, can be heavily linked to smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and the harmful use of alcohol. This can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, which in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and mental health issues,' said Mr Kalisch.
Indigenous health improvements in recent years have included lower death rates from circulatory and respiratory diseases, falling infant mortality rates and reductions in smoking. But Indigenous Australians have seven times the rate of end-stage kidney disease compared to non-Indigenous Australians, 3.3 times the rate of diabetes, three times the hospitalisation rates for respiratory conditions, 1.5 times the cancer death rate, and 1.5 times the obesity rate.
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare