New report reveals obesity could be the reason
A recent report published by the Medical Journal of Australia has revealed Australia’s increase in life expectancy is slowing compared to that of other high-income nations.
Here’s what you need to know.
Principal Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Dr Adair, explained although life expectancy is still increasing, the rate of its growth is slowing significantly.
“While we still have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, there are some things to be concerned about, particularly the high levels of obesity,” Dr Adair said.
According to the report, the leading causes for the change in pace are obesity, heart disease and stroke.
As Australia’s leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease accounted for 45,392 deaths in 2015, with obesity being a key contributor.
Obesity in Australia
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2017-18 two thirds of Australian adults were overweight or obese (12.5 million people), an increase from 63.4 in 2014-15.
Obesity increases the risks of other health conditions, including heart disease. It is typically associated with excess body fat and a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30.
It can be caused by genetic or environmental and lifestyle factors but is treatable through changes in diet and physical activity.
The good news
The report also revealed in just one generation, the likelihood of living more than 80 years has increased from a 29 per cent to a 68 per cent chance.
Life expectancy is still slowly increasing, and the gap that placed Australia above other nations is closing. This is because other nations are producing their own public health initiatives that have been in Australia for decades.
However, the report stated that Australia’s high global ranking may not be maintained if new strategies for reducing mortality are not developed and deployed effectively.