Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist August 2012 Contents 610 Australian Pharmacist August 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Fast facts from Australia's Health
Australians enjoy one of the highest life
expectancies in the world. Among OECD
countries, Australia has the sixth-longest
life expectancy for males and females.
The most commonly used medicines
in Australia are for reducing blood
cholesterol, lowering stomach acid,
lowering blood pressure, and antibiotics.
Coronary heart disease was the leading
cause of death for both males and
females in 2009, followed by lung cancer
for males and stroke for females.
In 2008, about 112,500 new cases of
cancer were diagnosed in Australia. In
2012, this is expected to rise to 121,500.
Cancer survival in Australia is generally
high compared with most other
countries and mortality rates have been
decreasing over the past two decades.
In the period 2006--2010, the ve-year
relative survival in Australia for all
cancers combined was 66%.
There is a high prevalence of mental
disorders in Australia -- 45% of
Australians aged 16--85 have
experienced a mental disorder at some
time in their lives.
In 2007--08, based on self-reports, an
estimated 898,800 people had been
diagnosed with diabetes at some time in
An estimated 222,100 Australians (1%)
had dementia in 2011; this is projected
to increase to more than 464,000 (1.6%)
As at December 2011, 91.8% of children
aged one year and 92.6% of children
aged two were fully immunised. Among
older children (aged ve years), 89.9%
were fully immunised.
Bicycle accident rates up --
lifestyle challenges ahead
By Andrew Daniels
Australians are generally healthy with
most feeling positive about their quality
That is the conclusion of the 2012
national health report card released by
the Australian Institute of Health and
Welfare (AIHW) in Australia's Health 2012.
However, it warns that most Australians
have at least one health risk factor that
is likely to contribute to poorer health in
Australia's Health 2012 was launched
by Health Minister Tanya Plibersek in
Canberra last month at the Australia's
Health 2012 conference, and brings
together the latest statistics and
information on health.
Speaking at the launch, AIHW Board
Chair Dr Andrew Refshauge told the
health bureaucrats and peak health body
representatives at the conference that,
'If you want real success it's got to be a
hand in hand approach. If you don't work
with people you won't get the results
On a lighter note he warned that keeping
t can come at a cost. He pointed to the
fact that the number of bicycle accidents
is increasing at a rate of 6% a year.
AIHW Director and CEO David Kalisch
said that while good health is always
good news, there are challenges ahead to
maintain an overall healthy population.
'Australia compares well internationally:
we enjoy one of the highest life
expectancies in the world -- 79.5 years for
men and 84.0 years for women, our level
of smoking continues to fall, and most
children are fully immunised.
'However, there are several areas where
Australia compares less favourably. For
example, among developed countries,
Australia has relatively high death rates
from heart disease, diabetes and chronic
lung disease. And Australia has one of the
highest rates of obesity: the latest gures
show one in four Australian adults and
one in 12 children were obese.'
Australia's Health 2012 shows about
one in seven people have ve or more
risk factors with the most common
combination of risks being inadequate
fruit and vegetable consumption with
insu cient physical activity.
'Many Australians eat too few vegetables,
fruit and wholegrain cereals, and eat
too many foods high in fat, sugar and
salt. And almost 60% of Australians over
15 don't do enough physical activity to
bene t their health.'
High levels of health risk factors are
common among socially disadvantaged
people, people with disabilities,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people, and those living in rural areas,'
'The proportion of people rating their
health highly is not the same across all
population groups. For example, 61%
of people who were unemployed for a
year or more rated their healthy highly,
compared with 91% of employed people.
And the rating generally decreases
'In the next two decades, the number
of people aged 65 and over is expected
to nearly double, and the number aged
85 and over to more than double. This
means that healthy ageing is a priority for
now, not for the future'.
Although many older Australians have
good mental and physical health,
nearly half of those aged 65--74
have ve or more long-term physical
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