Chronic disease blights good report card

Lifestyle-related chronic diseases are rife in Australia despite our longer life expectancy, lower death rates for cancer and a world-class health system, a new report shows.

While Australia has been given top marks in many areas of health, there is room for improvement in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health which blight an otherwise pleasing report card, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Released today, the AIHW’s major health report shows chronic diseases are the leading cause of illness, disability and death, accounting for 90% of all deaths in 2011.

“Chronic diseases have often been called ‘Australia’s greatest health challenge’ – and while not solely related to behavioural factors in all cases, can be heavily linked to smoking,