Every second year the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare publishes a report card on Australia’s health to assess how our nation’s health is changing. The report looks at questions such as which medical conditions are on the rise, and which are decreasing? So, how is Australia’s health currently stacking up?
How is Australia’s health changing?
Some of the key changes that I found interesting include:
- Cardiovascular disease, a preventable disease, remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in Australia
- When looking at the leading causes of death in men, dementia moved from 13th place to 6th place, so is becoming an increasing issue in our country
- 45% of Australians will experience some type of mental health condition in their lifetime
- Although cancer continues to be one of our top five leading causes of death, a smaller percentage of people diagnosed with the disease are now dying from it. This seems to be as a result of earlier detection and better treatment
- Overall, the key message that I got out of this report, is that although Aussie’s are living long lives, more of us are living with a chronic disease (with heart disease, cancer, respiratory conditions, dementia and mental illness being some of the most common), so unfortunately we’re not really feeling as healthy as we should be.
How does your health risk compare to your neighbours?
Poor nutrition is the leading cause of chronic disease risk in Australia. Compare your health risk to your neighbours by seeing how you score for the four top causes of chronic disease risk:
- 93% of Australians are not consuming the recommended two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day – are you one of them?
- 43% of Aussies undertake less than 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Do you need to make exercise a higher priority?
- 63% of Australians are overweight or obese (defined as a BMI over 25). Do you know what your BMI is? Do you need to lose some weight?
- 45% of Australians drink to levels that put their health at risk at least once each year. Do you need to decrease your alcohol consumption?
I recently heard a great quote: “No one ever says on their deathbed “I wish I spent more time at work””. How are your priorities? Do you need to make more time for your health?
To do: Choose one of the four main risk factors for chronic disease to make a priority for the rest of the year. What do you need to do to achieve it?
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