Whilst we all worry about the latest disease, fad or trend in health, it is worthwhile remembering the basic health problems which harm us the most. These remain the so called lifestyle diseases, which we can tackle better to improved health and longevity.
A large global study looking at the factors causing early death has found that major risks for death in Australia for both men and women are: high blood pressure, smoking, high body mass index (obesity), and high fasting plasma glucose (diabetes).
The fastest growing risk for men is drug use, up 53 per cent between 1990 and 2013, whilst in women it is diabetes, increasing by 68 per cent since 1990.
On the improved side is deaths from high cholesterol, down by 25 per cent, and deaths from diets low in fruit and vegetables, down by 10 per cent.
In Australia, however, deaths due to obesity and diabetes-related illnesses have been increased 35 per cent and 47 per cent respectively. We clearly need to do more to improve our lifestyle and nutrition to avoid the consequences of these.
Pleasingly, at least, smoking has decreased slightly, by 4 per cent.
Christopher J Murray et al. Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. The Lancet, September 2015 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00128-2