Australian Institute of Health and Welfare releases health report card on the nation

People Male overweight

85 per cent of Australians think they’re in good or excellent health, despite 50 per cent living with a chronic disease and 63 per cent considered overweight or obese.

About 50 per cent of Australians are living with a chronic disease and 63 per cent of adults are now considered overweight or obese, according to the latest report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Despite these findings, 85 per cent of Australians said they thought they were in good or excellent health.

The report, Australia’s Health 2016, launched on Tuesday by the Federal Minister, the Hon. Sussan Ley, suggests 50 per cent of Australians are living with a chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes or a mental illness.

Alarmingly, 25 per cent of Australians are living with two or more chronic health conditions.

AIHW Director and CEO Barry Sandison said that it was concerning that preventable lifestyle factors were still strongly contributing to rates of disease.

“95 per cent of Australians did not eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables, more than 10 per cent smoked daily and almost 20 per cent drank to ‘risky levels’,” Mr Sandison said.

Mr Sandison said that while lifestyle choices were a major contributor to the development of many chronic diseases, socioeconomic disadvantage was also influencing the health of Australians.

“Compared with people living in the highest socioeconomic areas, people living in the lowest socioeconomic areas generally live about three years less, are 1.6 times as likely to have more than one chronic health condition, and are three times as likely to smoke daily,” he said.

The report also found life expectancy rates were at a record high, with males born between 2012 and 2014 expected to live to 80.3 years and females to 84.4 years.

While there were some improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in recent years, significant gaps remained.

Indigenous Australians continued to have lower life expectancy rates than non-Indigenous Australians, are 3.5 times more likely to have diabetes, five times more likely to have end-stage kidney disease, and twice as likely to have coronary heart disease.

Click here for the online version of the report >