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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008  
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Contents >> Mortality >> YEARS OF LIFE LOST (YLL)

YEARS OF LIFE LOST (YLL)

Years of life lost is an indicator of premature mortality and is calculated by multiplying the number of deaths by the standard life expectancy (in years). A study on the burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples found that in 2003, there were an estimated 51,475 years of life lost due to disease and injury for the Indigenous population. This represented around 4% of the total years of life lost due to disease and injury for the total Australian population (Begg et al 2007).

Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of years of life lost (YLL) due to disease and injury for Indigenous Australians, responsible for 12,573 YLL, which accounted for around one-quarter (24%) of total YLL among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Cancer was the next leading cause of YLL responsible for 14% of YLL, followed by unintentional injuries (11%), intentional injuries (9%) and diabetes (7%) (table 9.9).

9.9 YEARS OF LIFE LOST (YLL) FOR THE LEADING DISEASE AND INJURY CATEGORIES, Indigenous persons - 2003

YLL
Percentage of total
Cause
no.
%

Cardiovascular disease
12 573
24.4
Cancers
7 351
14.3
Unintentional injuries
5 524
10.7
Intentional injuries
4 774
9.3
Diabetes
3 552
6.9
Chronic respiratory disease
2 771
5.4
Mental disorders
2 525
4.9
Neonatal causes
2 379
4.6
Infectious and parasitic diseases
2 114
4.1
Nervous system and sense organ disorders
1 485
2.9
Other
6 427
12.5
All causes
51 475
100.0

Source: 2007 Vos et al


Ischaemic heart disease was the leading specific cause of YLL due to disability and injury for both Indigenous males and females, accounting for 5,026 (17%) YLL for Indigenous males and 2,995 (13%) YLL for Indigenous females. Suicide and road traffic accidents were the second and third leading specific causes of YLL among Indigenous males, accounting for 2,628 (9%) and 1,786 (6%) of YLL. Type 2 Diabetes and road traffic accidents were the second and third leading causes of YLL among Indigenous females, accounting for 1,735 (8%) and 1,008 (5%) of YLL.

The Burden of Disease study also examined the health gap between Indigenous Australians and the general population. While 54% of the total burden of disease for Indigenous Australians (which included the burden of disease arising from disability), was due to mortality, two-thirds of the Indigenous health gap was due to mortality. This means that the mortality gap was considerably greater than the disability gap, and in part reflects a higher case fatality: when sick Indigenous Australians are more likely to die (Vos et al 2007).





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