” This report analyses the impact of more than 200 diseases and injuries in terms of living with illness (non-fatal burden) and premature death (fatal burden).
The study found that: chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and musculoskeletal conditions contributed the most burden in Australia in 2015 and 38% of the burden could have been prevented by removing exposure to risk factors such as tobacco use, overweight and obesity, and dietary risks.
The overall health of the Australian population improved substantially between 2003 and 2015 and further gains could be achieved by reducing lifestyle-related risk factors, according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). ‘
The Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015, measures the number of years living with an illness or injury (the non-fatal burden) or lost through dying prematurely (the fatal burden).
‘In 2015, Australians collectively lost 4.8 million years of healthy life due to living with or dying prematurely from disease and injury,’ said AIHW spokesperson Mr Richard Juckes.
‘The disease groups causing the most burden in 2015 were cancer, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal conditions, mental and substance use disorders and injuries.
‘After accounting for the increase in size and ageing of the population, there was an 11% decrease in the rate of burden between 2003 and 2015.’
Most of the improvement in the total burden resulted from reductions in premature deaths from illnesses and injuries such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and infant and congenital conditions.
‘Thirty eight per cent of the total burden of disease experienced by Australians in 2015 could have been prevented by reducing exposure to the risk factors included in this study,’ Mr Juckes said.
‘The 5 risk factors that caused the most total burden in 2015 were tobacco use (9.3%), overweight & obesity (8.4%), dietary risks (7.3%), high blood pressure (5.8%) and high blood plasma glucose—including diabetes (4.7%).’
For the first time, living with illness or injury caused more total disease burden than premature death. In 2015, the non-fatal share was 50.4% and the fatal share was 49.6% of the burden of disease.
Also released today is an overview of health spending that provides an understanding of the impact of diseases in terms of spending through the health system.
The data in Disease expenditure in Australia relates to the 2015–16 financial year only and suggests the highest expenditure groups were musculoskeletal conditions (10.7%), cardiovascular diseases (8.9%) injuries (7.6%) and mental and substance use disorders (7.6%).
‘Together the burden of disease and spending estimates can be used to understand the impact of diseases on the Australian community. However they can’t necessarily be compared with each other, as there are many reasons why they wouldn’t be expected to align,’ Mr Juckes said.
‘For example, spending on reproductive and maternal health is relatively high but it is not associated with substantial disease burden because the result is healthy mothers and babies more often than not.
‘Similarly, vaccine-preventable diseases cause very little burden in Australia due to national investment in immunisation programs.’
Table of contents
- 1 Introduction
- What is burden of disease?
- How can burden of disease studies be used?
- What can’t burden of disease studies tell us?
- How is burden of disease measured?
- What is the history of burden of disease analysis?
- What’s new in the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2015 and this report?
- 2 Total burden of disease
- What is the total burden of disease in Australia?
- How does total burden vary across the life course?
- Which disease groups cause the most burden?
- Which diseases cause the most burden?
- How does disease burden change across the life course?
- 3 Non-fatal burden of disease
- What is the overall non-fatal burden in Australia?
- How does living with illness vary across the life course?
- Which disease groups cause the most non-fatal burden?
- Which diseases cause the most non-fatal burden?
- How does non-fatal disease burden change across the life course?
- 4 Fatal burden of disease
- What is the overall fatal burden in Australia?
- How does years of life lost vary at different ages?
- Which disease groups cause the most fatal burden?
- Which diseases cause the most fatal burden?
- How does fatal disease burden change across the life course?
- 5 Health-adjusted life expectancy
- HALE as a measure of population health
- On average, almost 90% of years lived are in full health
- Years of life gained are healthy years
- HALE is unequal across states and territories
- HALE varies by remoteness of area lived
- HALE is unequal between socioeconomic groups
- 6 Contribution of risk factors to burden
- How are risk factors selected?
- What is the contribution of all risk factors combined?
- Which risk factors contribute the most burden?
- How do risk factors change through the life course?
- 7 Changes over time
- How should changes between time points be interpreted?
- How has total burden changed over time?
- How have the non-fatal and fatal burden changed over time?
- How have risk factors changed over time?
- 8 Variation across geographic areas and population groups
- Burden of disease by state and territory
- Burden of disease by remoteness areas
- Burden of disease by socioeconomic group
- 9 International context and comparisons
- What is the international context of burden of disease studies?
- Can the ABDS 2015 be compared with international studies?
- How does Australian burden compare internationally?
- 10 Study developments and limitations
- What are the underlying principles of the ABDS?
- What stayed the same between Australian studies?
- What changes were made in the ABDS 2015?
- What are the data gaps?
- What are the methodological limitations?
- What opportunities are there for further analysis?
- Appendix A: Methods summary
- 1 Disease and injury (condition) list
- 2 Fatal burden
- 3 Non-fatal burden
- 4 Total burden of disease
- 5 Health-adjusted life expectancy
- 6 Risk factors
- 7 Overarching methods/choices
- Appendix B: How reliable are the estimates?
- ABDS 2015 quality index
- Appendix C: Understanding and using burden of disease estimates
- Different types of estimates presented in this report
- Interpreting estimates
- What can estimates from 2015 tell us about 2019?
- Appendix D: Additional tables and figures
- Appendix E: List of expert advisors
- List of tables
- List of figures
- Related publications