REPORT: Australians Are Smoking Less, Drinking Less And Living Better Because Of It

Getty Images/ Cameron Spencer

The national health report, which is released every two years, is out and as an Australian you should be proud of the results.

According to the Federal Government’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report titled Australia’s Health 2014, Aussies are living longer, healthier and happier lives.

Here are some of the highlights from the report.

Daily smoking rates continue to fall

Australians’ daily smoking rates are well below international standards and are continuing to drop. Between 1964 and 2010 the rate of Australian adults who smoked dropped from 43% to 16%.

Less young people are also taking up smoking. “In 2001, about one-quarter of 18 to 24 year olds smoked daily—by 2010, this had fallen to 16%,” the report says.

The number of people who have never drunk alcohol increases

Aussies are even drinking less.

According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, the number of people who have never drunk alcohol rose from 10.1% to 12.1% between 2007 and 2010.

Thanks to this move towards a healthier way of life, death rates from chronic disease are going down and life expectancy is going up.

Deaths from cancer drop

Despite the prevalence of new cancer cases rising each year, mostly due to the population ageing, cancer death rates are continuing to fall.

Between 1991 and 2011, deaths from all cancers combined fell by 17% and the five-year survival rate increased from 47% in 1982-1987 to 66% in 2006-2010.

“The reasons cancer death rates are falling include changes in exposure to cancer risks (such as not smoking), improved primary prevention (such as better sun protection), advances in cancer treatment and, for some cancers, earlier detection through screening programs (bowel, breast and cervical) and other testing (prostate),” the report states.

Heart attack and stroke rates have been reduced

Heart attack rates from 2007 to 2011 have fallen 20% and the rate of stroke events has dropped by 25% between 1997 and 2009.

Life expectancy soars

“Australians have one of the highest life expectancies in the world and can expect to live about 25 years longer, on average, than a century ago,” the institute says.

A baby boy born in 1901 would have lived to 55 years and a baby girl to 59 years. Today, it’s 80 for men and 84 years for women.

Attitude toward personal health improves

More than half of all Australians aged 15 and over considered themselves to be in “excellent” health, while only 4% rated their health as “poor”.

Read more about Australia’s health 2014 here.

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