1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Because of the close relationships between many socioeconomic variables, improvements in health may assist progress in other areas and vice versa. A substantial body of evidence shows that lower socioeconomic status and poorer educational outcomes contribute to poorer health literacy and consequently poorer health. Likewise, poor health, particularly in childhood, can negatively affect an individual's educational outcomes, which in turn may affect an individual's labour market outcome and their ability to buy their own house in later life.

A healthy population with fewer sick people to care for allows economic resources to be used for other things, while a larger pool of healthy people means a greater potential supply of labour for the workforce. Conversely, the growth of the economy can help to provide funds, either to governments or individuals, to pay for better health prevention programs, hospitals and health care, and to maintain suitable sanitation and housing services. Moreover, the health industry is a very significant employer, while health spending accounted for about 30% of total government expenditure, and over 5% of household expenditure in 2008-09 (ABS 2009a).

Various types of economic activity also affect human health. The burning of fossil fuels, for example, is linked to types of air pollution and a variety of health concerns. The changing composition of the Australian economy also has an effect. A shift to more office-based work has helped (AIHW 2005), along with other factors such as OHS practices, to reduce the incidence of fatal accidents at work. However, more sedentary occupations may have long-term adverse health effects including lack of exercise and increased obesity.


  • Culture and leisure
  • Education and training
  • Environment
  • Household economic wellbeing
  • National wealth
  • Work

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