Australia’s Health in 2012

Australia enjoys a healthy international image as an outdoors and sports loving country, but are we as healthy as we appear to be? That's the question the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) set out to answer and according to their Thirteenth Biennial Health Report, the answer appears to largely be, "Yes." It's not all good news, though. While there are a lot of positive health indicators, there is plenty of room for improvement, too. Australia's Health 2012: The Good News There are several areas where Australia gets high marks for health in comparison to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries: Life expectancy in Australia is amongst the highest in OECD countries. Males can expect to live to an average of 79.5 years, whilst females can look forward to an even longer life of 84. Our quality of life also appears to be excellent, with 82% of respondents to a survey reporting they were "delighted, pleased or mostly satisfied" with their lives and only 4% reporting they felt "dissatisfied, unhappy or terrible." There are fewer smokers in Australia now than in most OECD countries, with a 2010 survey reporting that only 1 in 7 Australians aged 14 and older smoked. Our immunisation rates are amongst the highest in the world, with over 90% of children up to the age of 5 having received full immunisation. We are not a nation of couch potatoes: Three quarters of Australian children between the ages of 5 and 14 actively participate in sports and cultural activities outside of school hours. Australia's Health 2012: The Not-So-Good News The not-so-good news about...

Health lessons we learnt in 2012

If you were to print all the health research published in a year, you'd probably be crushed under the weight of it. This year we’ve looked at low-fat dairy, stress and stroke, breastfeeding and food allergies, how your oral health affects your heart, bringing your temperature when have fever, and whether you can die from lack of sleep. Here are five things we learnt about our health this year that we thought were worth sharing with you again (listen here if you want to here our chat with our colleagues over at Life Matters - and their audience). Lesson 1: Stand up for your health We already knew sitting too much at work can be a health hazard. But when we looked at the research again this year we discovered most of us are spending more than half of our day being sedentary. We also learnt this amount of sitting could affect your health, even if you exceed the recommendations for daily physical activity, which are 30 minutes of moderate activity every day. Being too sedentary increases your risk of a range of health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, obesity and … early death. Dr Alicia Thorp, whose research is looking at the effects of sitting in the workplace, says we should aim to move as much as we can every day . But if you do have to sit for extended periods, try to stand for at least two minutes every 20 to 30 minutes. Lesson 2: The best ways to avoid the big C Hair dye, pesticides on food, tight pants… These have all been blamed for causing cancer at some point. But if you’re...
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