Most Australians healthy, report shows

Most Australians consider themselves in good health, according to the latest two yearly report card by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Australia’s health 2016 showed that people were living longer with death rates continuing to fall, said AIHW director Barry Sandison.

“If Australia had a population of just 100 people, 56 would rate their health as ‘excellent’, or ‘very good’ and 29 as ‘good’,” he said.

“However, 19 of us would have a disability, 20 a mental health disorder in the last 12 months, and 50 at least one chronic disease.”

Mr Sandison said the influence of lifestyle factors on a person’s health was a recurring theme of the report, with 13 people out of 100 smoking on a daily basis, 18 consuming alcohol at risky levels and 95 not eating the recommended number of servings of fruit and vegetables.

“And while 55 do enough physical activity, 63 of us are overweight or obese,” Sandison said.

Those living in the lowest socioeconomic areas generally lived around three years less and were 1.6 times as likely to have more than one health condition, he said.

For people living in rural and remote areas, where accessing services can be more difficult, lower life expectancy and higher rates of disease and injury, particularly road accidents, are of concern.

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