Australia’s health 2020: Chronic diseases

Written and accurate as at: 15 June 2021

In Australia, chronic diseases are an ongoing cause of substantial ill-health, disability and premature death.

Chronic diseases are generally categorised as long lasting conditions with persistent effects—living with a chronic disease can affect an individual’s quality of life and have social and economic effects.

The 10 major chronic disease groups are arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, mental health conditions and osteoporosis.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)*, in 2018: 47% of Australians had one or more of the 10 major chronic disease groups; 51% of hospitalisations involved one of the 10 major chronic disease groups; and, 89% of deaths were associated with the 10 major chronic disease groups.

Importantly, many chronic diseases share common risk factors that are largely preventable, modifiable or treatable, eg. smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, overweight and obesity, and high blood pressure.

In this video, the AIHW provides a snapshot of the health of Australians in 2020, inclusive of chronic diseases.

*Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Australia’s health 2020.