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This article outlines the types of chronic health conditions associated with disability. In 2003, the conditions commonly reported as causing most problems for people with a disability were musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis and back problems, mental and behavioural disorders, such as depression and dementia, and circulatory conditions, such as stroke and heart disease. Among children, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities/mental retardation, autism and related disorders, and asthma were the conditions most often reported as causing most problems.
Between 1970–72 and 2002–04, the life expectancy of people at 50 years of age increased substantially, by almost 8 years for men and 7 years for women. The reductions in death rates responsible for the increased life expectancies for men were predominantly for those aged 50–69 years, while for women it was mostly for those aged 70 years and over. For both sexes, the majority of the increase in life expectancy was from reductions in heart disease and stroke.
In 2003, over one-third (36%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had a disability or long-term health condition, and the disability rate was similar for those living in remote and non-remote areas of Australia. This article explores the prevalence of disability or long-term health conditions among Indigenous people in 2003 and discusses the health, educational attainment, work status and income of this population group. It also compares disability and long-term health condition rates for Indigenous and non-Indigeneous people.
In 2003, 167,000 people aged 60 years and over (5%) were living in cared accommodation. The median age of older people in cared accommodation was 85 years, and 72% were women. This article profiles the health and disability characteristics of older people in cared accommodation, in comparison with those of older people living at home. Alzheimer's disease, dementia or another mental and behavioural disorder was reported to be the health condition causing most problems for 42% of older people in cared accommodation.