The burden of chronic disease

Australia, like most of the rest of the world, is facing a new type of disease epidemic – chronic disease. Factors such as smoking, harmful alcohol use, poor nutrition and physical inactivity are causing a massive increase in chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes.

These chronic diseases are not only the leading cause of premature death in this country, they restrict how millions of Australians live every day.

Half of all Australians aged between 45 and 64 have one or more chronic diseases. Compared with same-age peers, people with chronic disease are 60% more likely to not work and are less likely to work full time than people without chronic disease.

Three in five adult Australians are overweight, almost 60% don’t exercise enough and less than 10% are eating enough vegetables. By 2025, it is estimated that 75% of women and 80% of Australian men aged 20 years and over will be overweight or obese, as well as one-third of 5-19 year-olds.

Chronic diseases result in a significant economic burden, both from health care costs and lost productivity.