NACCHO Aboriginal Health #OchreDay2017 @AIHW New Report ” Health of Australia’s Males “

Australia’s Indigenous males?

In 2017, around 373,000 Australian males (3.1%) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander [1, 2]. Indigenous males tend to be younger than non-Indigenous males (34% aged less than 15, compared with 19% of non-Indigenous males), they are culturally diverse (17% speak an Indigenous language and 61% identify with a clan, tribal or language group) and they are outnumbered by females in later life (85 males for every 100 females aged 65 or over) [2, 3].

Read over 325 NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health articles published over past 5 years

NACCHO has long recognised the importance of an Aboriginal male health policy and program to close the gap by 2030 on the alarming Aboriginal male mortality rates across Australia.

Aboriginal males have arguably the worst health outcomes of any population group in Australia.

To address the real social and emotional needs of males in our communities, NACCHO proposes a positive approach to Aboriginal male health and wellbeing

NACCHO, its affiliates and members are committed to building upon past innovations and we require targeted actions and investments to implement a wide range of Aboriginal male health and wellbeing programs and strategies.

We call on State, Territory and Federal governments to commit to a specific, substantial and sustainable funding allocation for the NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint 2013-2030

Who are Australia’s males?

As at June 30 2016, there were nearly 12 million males living in Australia (49.7% of the total population), which means there were 98.8 males for every 100 females [1]. Most males (68%) were younger than 50 and 14% were 65 or over. Their median age was 36.5 years, which is lower than the median age for females of 38.3 years.

Males are a diverse population, with differing health behaviours, conditions and health service use across a range of characteristics. The characteristics of five particular population groups are described below.

Remoteness

From the 2011 ABS census, 69% of the Australian male population live in Major cities, 19% live in Inner regional areas, 9.3% live in Outer regional areas, and 2.5 per cent live in Remote and Very remote areas [4]. Males living in Remote and Very remote areas outnumber females (116 males for every 100 females) and are community-minded (19% volunteer for a group or organisation, compared with 14% of males living in Major cities)[4].

Socioeconomic disadvantage

Some Australian males are more disadvantaged than others. Thirteen per cent of males are experiencing poverty and around 59,000 are homeless [5, 6]. There are nearly 36,000 Australian male prisoners in adult corrective services custody [7]. Two out of three (66%) males aged 15 and over are employed and 60% of 15–74 year old males have a non-school qualification [8, 9].

Region of birth

More than a quarter (27%) of the Australian male population were born overseas. Of those born overseas, the majority were born in the United Kingdom (followed by New Zealand and China), and overseas-born males are outnumbered by overseas-born females (98 males for every 100 females) [10].

Age group

In 2016, 23% of the total male population were aged under 18, 62% were aged 18–64, and 14% were aged 65 or over [1]. The number of men aged 65 and over is increasing (by the year 2026 they are predicted to account for 17 to 18% of the total male population), they are outnumbered by females (88 males for every 100 females), 11% are widowed, 17% live alone, and 16% need assistance with one or more of the core everyday activities of self-care, mobility and communication [11].

Lifestyle and risk factors of Australia’s males

The lifestyles males lead can influence how healthy they are in the short and long term. A lifestyle including exercise, a well-balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy body weight, may reduce the risk of poor health. Risk factors such as smoking tobacco, misusing alcohol and illicit substance use, or exposure to violence, may increase the likelihood of poor health.

Physical activity

Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of many chronic conditions and injuries. Sport and other forms of physical activity can also improve mental wellbeing and may foster social networks which provide support and opportunities for development.

Sufficient physical activity for 18–64 year olds is defined in Australia’s Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines as accumulating at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week, and being active on most, preferably all, days. The guidelines also recommend adults complete at least two strength-based training sessions each week. The guidelines provide separate recommendations for children (ages 0–5 and 5–12), young people (ages 13–17), and older Australians (ages 65+).

In this section, we refer to ‘sufficient activity’ for 18–64 year olds as completing at least 150 minutes of physical activity across 5 or more sessions each week. For males aged 65 and over, ‘sufficient activity’ is completing at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days each week (reported here as 5 or more days).

1 in 2  Australian men aged 18–64 get enough exercise

In 2014–15, 49% of men aged 18–64 exercised sufficiently [1]. Exercise rates were highest among men aged 25–34 (56%) and lowest among men aged 45–54 (43%).

1 in 4 (27%) men aged 65 and over were sufficiently active.

Figure 1: Sufficient physical activity, men aged 18–64, by age-group, 2014-15

This is a vertical bar chart comparing the percentage of males who were sufficiently active at different age groups in 2014–15. The chart shows that men aged 25–34 were the most sufficiently active at 56%25, closely followed by those aged 18–24 at 55%25. Males aged 45–54 were the least sufficiently active, at 43%25.

Note: “Sufficiently active” here refers to having completed at least 150 minutes of physical activity over 5 or more sessions in the previous week.

Source: ABS 2015 [1] (Table S1).

Overweight and obesity

Excess body weight, known as overweight and obesity, is a risk factor for many conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea and osteoarthritis. Excess body weight can be measured using the body mass index (BMI).

7 in 10 Australian men are overweight or obese

In 2014–15, 7 in 10 adult males in Australia (71%) were overweight or obese: 42% were overweight, and 28% were obese [1]. The proportion of males who are overweight or obese differs by population group [1, 2, 3]:

  • 44% of young men (aged 18–24) are overweight or obese, compared with 82% of men aged 55–64
  • the rate of overweight and obesity in men does not vary substantially across areas of socioeconomic disadvantage, ranging from 69% to 73%
  • 75% of men living in Inner regional areas are overweight or obese, compared with 69% of men living in Major cities
  • 38% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men were obese in 2012–13, compared to 27% of non-Indigenous men, after adjusting for differences in age-structure. However, the overall rate of overweight and obesity was the same (70% for both).

The proportion who are overweight or obese differs between boys and men, 7 in 10 (71%) men aged 18 years and over are overweight or obese, compared with 3 in 10 (28%) boys aged 5–17.

Figure 2: BMI, boys aged 5–17 and men aged 18 and over, 2014–15

This figure is comprised of two pie charts. The first shows that, for boys aged 5–17 years, 6%25 are underweight, 66%25 are normal weight was, 22%25 are overweight, and 6%25 are obese, based on their BMI measurement. The second pie chart shows, for men aged 18 and over, 11%25 are underweight, 28%25 are normal weight, 42%25 are overweight, and 29%25 are obese, based on their BMI measurement.

Notes:

  1. Boys and men have different cut-offs for BMI.
  2. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.

Source: ABS 2015 [1] (Table S2).

While excess weight is commonly managed using dietary intervention and exercise, for those who are morbidly obese or who are obese and have other conditions related to their excess weight, weight loss surgery may be appropriate.

Weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) is surgery that aims to help obese patients lose weight and lower the risk of medical problems associated with obesity. It restricts the amount of food a recipient can eat or alters the process of food digestion so that fewer calories are absorbed.

In 2014–15, males accounted for 21% of hospital separations for weight loss surgery (4,800 separations) compared to 79% for females (18,000 separations) [4].

For more information see Weight loss surgery in Australia 2014–15.

Tobacco smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs

Tobacco

Tobacco smoking is the single most preventable cause of poor health and death in Australia [5]. The main data sources reporting on tobacco smoking in Australia are the ABS National Health Survey’s (NHS), the National Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, and the AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS).

These surveys showed that:

  • based on the ABS NHS, in 2014–15, 16.9% of men aged 18 or over and 3.9% of boys aged 15–17 years smoked daily [1]
  • based on the AIHW NDSHS, in 2016, 14.6% of men aged 18 or over and 2.7% of males aged 14–19 smoked daily [6].

The proportion of males who smoke tobacco differs by age and between population groups [1, 3, 7]:

  • 19.4% of younger men (aged 18–44) smoked daily, compared with 14.6% of older men (aged 45 or over)
  • 24.6% of men living in the lowest socioeconomic areas smoked daily, compared with 8.7% of men living in the highest socioeconomic areas
  • 25.0% of men living in Outer regional and remote areas smoked daily, compared with 15.5% of men living in Major cities
  • 43.9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men smoked daily in 2014–15, compared to 17.0% of non-Indigenous men, after adjusting for differences in age-structure.

Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for a variety of health problems, including liver and heart conditions, and poor mental health. It also contributes to accident and injury, such as motor vehicle accidents, physical violence and homicide. The main data sources reporting on alcohol consumption in Australia are the AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey and the ABS National Health Survey. Although these surveys use different methodologies, they show similar results.

Based on the AIHW NDSHS, in 2016 26% of men (ages 18+) were lifetime risky drinkers [6]. Half of men aged 18 and over (49%) exceeded the single occasion risky drinking threshold at least once in the last 12 months.

Based on the ABS NHS, in 2014–15, more than half of men aged 18 and over (57%) were exceeding the single occasion risk threshold, and one in four (26%) exceeded the lifetime risk guideline. The rates of lifetime and single occasion risky drinking vary by age-group (see Figure 3) [1].

Figure 3: Lifetime and single occasion risky drinking, men, by age-group, 2014–15

Lifetime risky drinking

This figure is comprised of two vertical bar charts, showing the percentage of lifetime risky drinkers, and single occasion risky drinkers, by age group, in 2014–15. The first chart shows that the percentage of lifetime risky drinking grew from 19%25 of men aged 18–24 to 31%25 of men aged 55–64. Men aged 75 and over had the lowest rates of lifetime risky drinking at 15%25.

Single occasion risky drinking

The second bar chart shows that the highest percentages of single occasion risky drinkers were among those aged 18–24 and 25–34, both 69%25. From 35 years of age the percentages of single occasion risky drinkers gradually decreased, and was lowest for those aged 75 and over at 12%25.

Note: Alcohol consumption risk levels based on 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for the consumption of alcohol.

Source: ABS 2015 [1] (Table S3).

The proportion of men who exceed the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines varies by age and between population groups [1, 2, 3]:

  • 19% of younger men (aged 18–24) exceed the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines, compared with 31% of men aged 55–64
  • 23% of men living in the lowest socioeconomic areas exceed the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines, compared with 29% of men living in the highest socioeconomic areas
  • 37% of men living in Outer regional and remote areas exceed the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines, compared with 24% of men living in Major cities
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men had the same rates of risky drinking as non-Indigenous men in 2012–13, with 29% of both groups exceeding the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines, after adjusting for differences in age-structure.

Illicit substances

Illicit substance use includes the use of illegal drugs (such as cannabis and heroin), or inappropriate use of prescription pharmaceuticals (such as sleeping pills) or other substances (such as naturally occurring hallucinogens). Illicit use of drugs causes death and disability and is a risk factor for many diseases. The effects of illicit drug use can be severe, for example leading to poisoning, heart damage, mental illness, self-harm, suicide and death. Illicit drug use is also associated with risks to users’ families and friends and to the community. It contributes to social and family disruptions, violence, and crime and community safety issues. The AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey reports on illicit drug use in Australia.

In 2016, 18% of Australian males aged 14 years and over had used an illicit drug in the previous 12 months (‘recent use’) [6].

The pattern of illicit substance use differs by age groups—32% of men aged 20–29 had recently used illicit drugs, compared with 7.9% of men aged 60 or over.

Violence

Violence is the intentional threat or actual use of physical force or power against oneself, another person, or a group, that results in injury, death, psychological harm, abnormal growth or deprivation. The main data source for violence is the ABS Personal Safety Survey.

1 in 2

Australian men have experienced violence since they turned 15

In 2012, for men aged 18 or over [8]:

  • 49% had experienced violence since the age of 15—48% had experienced physical violence and 4.5% had experienced sexual violence
  • 8.7% had experienced violence in the last 12 months, with the highest rates for men aged 18–24 (24%), and the lowest for men aged 55+ (2.2%)
  • 5.3% had experienced partner violence since the age of 15
  • 7.8% had been stalked in their lifetime
  • 14% had experienced emotional abuse by a partner since the age of 15
  • 18% had experienced sexual harassment during their lifetime.

How healthy are Australia’s males?

A person’s health status is their overall level of health, and can be measured through self-assessed health status; presence of chronic disease and comorbidities; mental health; sexual heath; life expectancy; and level of disability.

Self-assessed health status

Self-assessed health status is a general measure of health status, combining physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.

Nearly 3 in 5

Australian males rated their health as excellent or very good

In 2014–15, 55% of males (aged 15+) rated their health as excellent or very good [1].

The proportion of males rating their health as excellent or very good varied by age-group: 64% of males aged 15–34 rated their health as excellent or very good, compared with 32% of men aged 75 years and over.

Chronic disease, comorbidity and burden of disease

Chronic disease

The term chronic disease applies to a group of diseases that tend to be long-lasting and have persistent effects. Chronic diseases have a range of potential impacts on a person’s individual circumstances, including quality of life, as well as broader social and economic effects. Chronic diseases also have a significant impact on the health sector.

Self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 National Health Survey (NHS) provides an estimate of the prevalence of chronic disease among the Australian population. Chronic disease data is collected for arthritis, asthma, back problems, cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), CVD (cardiovascular disease), diabetes, and mental health conditions. These chronic diseases were selected for reporting because they are common, pose significant health problems, have been the focus of recent AIHW surveillance efforts, and action can be taken to prevent their occurrence. This survey data is self-reported and is therefore likely to under-report the true prevalence of chronic disease. However, using this data enables us to look at the comorbidity of chronic diseases across the Australian population, which is not possible using separate data sources. For more information on data quality see Data sources.

1 in 2 Australian males have a chronic disease

In 2014–15, 48% of males reported having one or more of the 8 selected chronic diseases (arthritis, asthma, back problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD, diabetes and mental and behavioural problems) [1].

Table 1: Selected chronic diseases reported by males, all ages, 2014–15

Condition

Number

Per cent

Condition

CVD (cardiovascular disease)

Number

2,042,700

Per cent

17.9

Condition

Back problems

Number

1,851,900

Per cent

16.2

Condition

Mental and behavioural problems

Number

1,803,400

Per cent

15.8

Condition

Arthritis

Number

1,409,000

Per cent

12.3

Condition

Asthma

Number

1,119,800

Per cent

9.8

Condition

Diabetes

Number

647,100

Per cent

5.7

Condition

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

Number

301,500

Per cent

2.6

Condition

Cancer

Number

195,500

Per cent

1.7

Source: ABS 2015 [1]

Note: This survey data is self-reported and likely under-reports the true prevalence of chronic diseases. For more information on data quality see Data sources.

The prevalence of these chronic diseases varies with age:

  • 86% of men aged 65 and over have a chronic disease, compared with 33% of males aged under 45.

Cancer

Cancer describes a diverse group of several hundred diseases in which some of the body’s cells become abnormal and begin to multiply out of control. Some cancers are easily diagnosed and treated, others are harder to diagnose and treat, and all can be fatal. Cancers are named by the type of cell involved or the location in the body where the disease begins.

The primary source of national cancer incidence data is the Australian Cancer Database – a data collection of all primary, malignant cancers diagnosed in Australia since 1982.

16,665

Estimated new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2017, the most common cancer among males

In 2017, it is estimated males will account for 54% of all new cancer cases (72,169 cases) [2]. The risk for Australian males of being diagnosed with cancer before their 85th birthday is 1 in 2 (see Figure 4 below). The most common cancer diagnosis in males is prostate cancer, followed by colorectal cancer, melanoma of the skin, and lung cancer.

Figure 4: Estimated age-specific incidence and mortality rate from all cancers, males, 2017

This line graph shows a relatively low incidence of cancer among younger age-groups, with incidence gradually increasing between ages 25–29 and 50–54, and then increasing sharply between ages 50–54 and 85 and over. The cancer mortality line shows that the age-specific rate of cancer mortality is relatively low until age 40–44, when it then begins to increase exponentially in each successive age group to age 85+.

Source: AIHW 2017 [2] (Table S4).

Mental health

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as ‘a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’ Poor mental health may adversely affect any or all of these areas and has consequences for an individual, their family and society.

Nearly 1 in 2

Australian males have experienced a mental health problem

In 2007, more than 3.8 million (48%) males aged 16–85 had experienced a mental health disorder in their lifetime [3].

18% of males aged 16–85 experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the previous 12 months.

Chronic disease comorbidities

Some people have more than one chronic disease or health problem at the same time. This is referred to as a comorbidity. Having comorbid chronic conditions can have important implications for a person’s health outcomes, quality of life and treatment choices.

Comorbidity data are presented for the following eight chronic diseases because they are common, pose significant health problems, have been the focus of recent AIHW surveillance efforts, and action can be taken to prevent their occurrence:

  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • back problems
  • cancer
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • CVD (cardiovascular disease)
  • diabetes
  • mental health conditions.

In 2014–15, 48% of all Australian males had one or more of these chronic conditions: 27% had one, 13% had two, and 8.5% had three or more. Chronic disease comorbidity was lower for males than females (21% of all males had two or more chronic conditions compared with 25% for females). [1]

Figure 5: Number of chronic conditions, males, 2014–15

This horizontal bar chart shows the number of chronic conditions reported by males in 2014–15. 52%25 of men reported having none of the selected chronic conditions, 27%25 of men reported having one of the selected chronic conditions, 13%25 reported having two of the selected chronic conditions, and 9%25 reported having three or more of the selected chronic conditions.

Note: Based on the selected chronic conditions; arthritis, asthma, back pain and problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and mental health conditions.

Source: ABS 2015 [1] (Table S5).

The most common comorbidities in males were:

  • 717,300 males reported CVD and arthritis (6.3% of all males)
  • 580,100 males reported CVD and back problems (5.1%)
  • 509,300 males reported mental and behavioural problems and back problems (4.5%).

Burden of disease

Burden of disease quantifies the health impact of disease on a population in a given year—both from dying early and from living with disease and injury. The summary measure ‘disability-adjusted life years’ (or DALY) measures the years of healthy life lost from death and illness.

In 2011, males experienced a greater share of the total disease burden (54%) than females (46%) [4]. The distribution of overall burden between the sexes varied by disease group. Compared with females, males experienced almost three-quarters (72%) of the total burden from injuries and a greater proportion of the total burden from cardiovascular diseases (59%). Nearly half (47%) of the burden of disease in males is from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mental & substance use disorders.

After cancer, the ranking of disease groups contributing to total burden of disease differed for males and females. For males, cardiovascular diseases ranked second, followed by mental & substance use disorders, injuries, and musculoskeletal conditions (see Table 2). For females, musculoskeletal conditions ranked second, followed by cardiovascular diseases, and mental & substance use disorders [4].

For more information see Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2011

Table 2: Leading causes of burden, DALY and proportions, by disease group, males, 2011

Disease group

DALY

Proportion (%)

Disease group

Cancer

DALY

470,110

Proportion (%)

19.5

Disease group

Cardiovascular

DALY

388,306

Proportion (%)

16.1

Disease group

Mental & substance use disorders

DALY

283,652

Proportion (%)

11.8

Disease group

Injuries

DALY

283,228

Proportion (%)

11.7

Disease group

Musculoskeletal

DALY

232,044

Proportion (%)

9.6

Disease group

Respiratory

DALY

184,297

Proportion (%)

7.6

Disease group

Neurological

DALY

128,273

Proportion (%)

5.3

Disease group

Gastrointestinal

DALY

78,839

Proportion (%)

3.3

Disease group

Infant/congenital

DALY

68,212

Proportion (%)

2.8

Disease group

Endocrine

DALY

60,587

Proportion (%)

2.5

DALY = Disability Adjusted Life-Year.

Source: AIHW 2015 [4]

Sexual health

Sexual health includes the prevalence of sexual problems and sexually transmissible infection rates.

Over 1 in 2 Australian men have experienced a sexual difficulty

More than half (54%) of men aged 18–55 years had experienced some sexual difficulty lasting at least 3 months in the last 12 months: 37% ‘came to orgasm too quickly’ and 17% ‘lacked interest in sex’ [5].

‘Reaching climax too quickly’ was the most common issue across all age groups (between 32% and 38%). Other types of sexual difficulty differed by age: ‘did not reach climax or took a long time’ was the next most common issue in 18–24 year old men, while ‘lacking interest in having sex’ was most common among men of other age groups (25–34, 35–44 and 45–55).

More information on male reproductive health can be found at Andrology Australia.

Table 3: Sexual difficulty among men, by age group, 2013–14

Age group (years)

Sexual difficulty (a)

Per cent (b)

18–24

Reached climax too quickly

31.5

Did not reach climax or took a long time

16.8

Lacked interest in having sex

14.6

At least one sexual difficulty over past 12 months

48.3

25–34

Reached climax too quickly

36.3

Lacked interest in having sex

15.1

Felt anxious during sex

10.2

At least one sexual difficulty over past 12 months

51.6

35–44

Reached climax too quickly

39.2

Lacked interest in having sex

16.7

Did not reach climax or took a long time

13.8

At least one sexual difficulty over past 12 months

54.2

45–55

Reached climax too quickly

38.0

Lacked interest in having sex

20.2

Had trouble getting or keeping an erection

19.9

At least one sexual difficulty over past 12 months

56.6

  1. Sexual difficulty experienced for at least three months in the 12 months before the study.
  2. Proportion of males in each age group. Note that males may report more than one sexual difficulty.

Source: [5]

Life expectancy and mortality

Life expectancy is expressed as either the number of years a newborn baby is expected to live, or the expected years of life remaining for a person at a given age, and is estimated from the death rates in a population.

Australian males born in 2013–15 can expect to live 33 years longer than males born in 1881–1890 did

Life expectancy changes over time, and differs between population groups [6, 7]:

  • males born in Australia in 2013–2015 can expect to live to the age of 80.4 years on average
  • for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males born in 2010–2012, life expectancy was estimated to be 10.6 years lower than that of non-Indigenous males (69.1 years compared with 79.7)
  • Australia is ranked 7th in international comparison of life expectancy at birth for males at 80.3 years, Iceland is ranked 1st with 81.3 years.

Disability-free life expectancies

Life and health expectancies at age 65 are used for monitoring healthy ageing. In 2013–15, life expectancy for men aged 65 (that is, the number of additional years a person aged 65 could expect to live) was just under 20 years [6]. Men aged 65 in 2015 could expect to live an additional 9 years free of disability and around 10 years with some level of disability, including 3 years with severe or profound core activity limitation. This equates to these men living 53% of their remaining life with disability, including 17% with severe or profound core activity limitation [7].

Mortality

Mortality data, such as premature deaths and potentially avoidable deaths, can help in understanding death and the fatal burden of disease in the population at a point in time.

Mortality rates vary between population groups. In 2015 [8]:

  • Males accounted for 62% of premature deaths.
  • Males in Very remote areas had a higher percentage of potentially avoidable deaths, with 61% of premature deaths being potentially avoidable, compared to 50% in Major cities
  • The median age at death for males decreased with increasing remoteness: from 79 in Major cities to 67 in Very remote areas
  • The median age at death for males also decreased with decreasing socioeconomic group: from 81 in the highest socioeconomic areas to 77 in the lowest socioeconomic areas

Causes of death

Monitoring causes of death helps to measure the health status of a population. Causes of death can be used to assess the success of interventions to improve disease outcomes, signal changes in community health status and disease processes, and highlight inequalities in health status between population groups.

In 2015, there were 81,330 deaths among Australian males. The leading cause of death was coronary heart disease, followed by lung cancer and dementia & Alzheimer disease. Males had over three times the rate of suicide and nearly twice the rates of death from coronary heart disease and lung cancer as females when adjusted for differences in the age structure of the populations.

Figure 6: Leading causes of death among males, 2015

This figure shows the top 10 leading causes of death among males in 2015. Coronary heart disease contributed to the greatest number of deaths among males with 11,075 deaths. The remaining 9, each less than 5,000 deaths, are lung cancer, dementia and Alzheimer disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, colorectal cancer, suicide, and cancer of unknown or ill-defined primary site.

Notes:

  1. Data are based on year of registration of death; deaths registered in 2015 are based on the preliminary version of cause of death data and are subject to further revision by the ABS.
  2. Leading causes of death are based on underlying causes of death and classified using an AIHW-modified version of Becker et al. 2006. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision (ICD-10) codes are presented in parentheses.

Source: AIHW 2017 [8] (Table S6).

Prostate cancer only affects males and is the 6th leading cause of death for males. Between 1984–1988 and 2009–2013, 5-year relative survival from prostate cancer improved from 58% to 95% [9].

For more information see Leading causes of death.

 

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