1392.0 - Statistical News SA, June 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/06/2010   
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Less heart disease, more dementia

The proportion of Australian deaths caused by heart disease has decreased over the last ten years, according to figures in Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 3303.0).

In 1999, 22% of all deaths in Australia were due to heart disease, compared to 16% of all deaths in 2008.

Despite this decline, however, heart disease remained the top cause of death in Australia, responsible for 16% of all deaths in 2008.

Over the same period, deaths due to Dementia and Alzheimer's disease more than doubled. The continued increase in deaths from Dementia and Alzheimer's disease has seen this cause of death overtake Trachea and lung cancers as the third leading cause of death in Australia. Trachea and lung cancers were responsible for most deaths caused by cancer, and was the fourth leading cause of death overall.

Strokes remained the second, leading, underlying cause of death in 2008.

Similar to the whole population, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the Indigenous population, accounting for 13% of all Indigenous deaths.

Other Information

Using Statistics for Evidence Based Policy

The ABS has recently developed a 'Guide for Using Statistics for Evidence Based Policy' that is now available on the ABS website.

The Guide provides useful information about how statistics can be used to make informed policy decisions, and includes the following information:

  • What is evidence based decision making?
  • How good statistics can enhance the decision making process
  • Using statistics for making evidence based decisions
  • Data awareness
  • Understanding statistical concepts and terminology
  • Analyse, interpret and evaluate statistical information
  • Communicate statistical findings
  • Evaluate outcomes of policy decisions

Biggest ever Australian Health Survey

The health of Australians will be getting its most comprehensive check-up ever, with the announcement of the Australian Health Survey to be conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The survey is being planned in close consultation with the Department of Health and Ageing and the National Heart Foundation of Australia. It will include new and improved measures of what Australians are eating and how physically active they are. It will also collect other health information, such as whether people have been diagnosed with arthritis or heart disease.

In another first, the survey will also measure chronic disease risk factors such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

The survey will also ask people to consider a visit to a pathology centre so that information on health risk factors can be derived from blood and urine samples. This will give a more accurate picture of the number of Australians with health issues such as high cholesterol, diabetes risk or poor nutritional status.

Around 50,000 people across Australia will be asked to take part in the survey, which will start in April 2011.

For more information:

ABS Corporate Communications 1300 175 070