What is the burden of chronic disease?

Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death

  • 7 out of 10

    According to the World Health Organization, in 2019 seven of the ten leading causes of death globally were chronic diseases.
  • 8 out of 10

    In Australia, chronic conditions such as arthritis, cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability. They cause eight out of every 10 premature deaths, and account for 80% of years lost due to ill health, disability or early death.

This means that although Australians are living longer, we are living more years in ill health – largely due to preventable chronic disease.

  • The cost of chronic diseases to the community is considerable and growing. Treatment of chronic diseases now consumes more than a third of health spending and has the potential to overwhelm the health budget and our health services.
  • According to the Global Burden of Disease study, over a third (38%) of Australia’s disease burden could be avoided or reduced if we took action on a range of risk factors including tobacco use, obesity, dietary risks, high blood pressure and alcohol use.