Australia’s Health Tracker, released on July 1st by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) at Victoria University, released a series of detailed report cards examining the health of Australians in relation to chronic diseases and their risk factors.
The report found we are one of the most obese nations in the world, with one in four Australian children ranking as overweight or obese.
A whopping 91.5 per cent of Australians aged 12 to 17, and 70.8 per cent of children aged five to 11, were found to be insufficient at meeting physical activity recommendations.
Of adults, 44.5 per cent were found to not be exercising enough.
The report said Australians have increasingly high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, and a record high suicide rate.
Australia’s culture of binge-drinking among young people could also be on the rise. While Australians are drinking less overall, the amount of young people (12 to 17 years) who take part in excessive consumption of alcohol currently at 6.4 per cent. The number of rate young women (15 to 19 years) who have made alcohol-related visits to the Emergency Department has also increased since 2010.
Indigenous children and young people were found to be more active than their non-Indigenous peers, with just under 60 per cent of children and 35 per cent of young people meeting the daily recommendations. However, Indigenous teenagers were also found to be 4.5 times more likely to smoke.
The report also suggested binge drinking is increasing among young Australian women at an alarming rate.
The news isn’t all bad though. Australians on average are smoking less, and are more proactive with regular health check-ups for bowel and breast cancer. As a result, fewer Australians are dying from common cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The report — of which 50 public health organisations are signatories — has set an individual target for each listed health factor by 2025.
Among these targets includes a 25 per cent reduction in the overall mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and common cancers; at least 10 per cent relative reduction in the harmful use of alcohol; and to cut the increasing rate of obesity in half.
It also aims to see a significant reduction in tobacco use, suicide and raised blood pressure.
Yours in health,