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CAUSES OF DEATH
Causes of death data provide insights into diseases and other factors contributing to reduced life expectancy. Underlying causes of death data records the key disease or injury leading directly to death. The death rate for all persons in NSW in 2007 was one of the lowest on record, reflecting a steady decline since 2002, from 6.7 to 5.9 deaths per 1,000 population. This overall decrease in death rates is mainly due to reductions in deaths from heart and cerebrovascular disease. However, deaths from malignant cancer increased from 170 to 174 per 100,000 population between 2001 and 2007.
There are a range of issues which can influence health outcomes, including socioeconomic status, environmental factors, genetics and specific lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, exercise and dietary habits. From 2007, Australia adopted eight National Health Priority Areas, being cardiovascular disease, cancer, injuries, arthritis, mental health, diabetes, asthma and obesity.
For the total NSW population, comparisons of risk factors between 2001 and 2008 show that more people are overweight or obese (up from 49.8% to 55.7%), more people are sedentary or only undertake low levels of exercise (up from 69.8% to 71.7%) and more people are drinking alcohol at risky or high risk levels (up from 10.8% to 13.3%). By contrast, 19% of the total NSW adult population in 2008 were current daily smokers, down from 22% in 2001.
BODY MASS INDEX (BMI)
People who have a BMI of 25 or higher are considered to be overweight or obese; this can pose a major risk to their long-term health by increasing the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. For the first time since 1995, the 2007-08 National Health Survey measured the height, weight, hip and waist circumference of respondents aged 5 years or more. This data was used to calculate measured BMI (excluding those for whom measurements were not available). Based on this measured data, 27% of males and 21% of females were recorded as obese and 42% of males and 32% of females as overweight.
Mental disorders can be divided into three broad categories; anxiety disorders e.g. agoraphobia; affective disorders e.g. depressive episodes; and substance use disorders e.g. alcohol use disorders. The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing revealed that in the 12 months prior to interview, 14.4% of people aged 16-85 years (766,100 people) had an anxiety disorder, 6.4% (340,400 people) had an affective disorder and 4.2% (221,200 people) had a substance use disorder.
Women experienced higher rates of mental disorders; 22% of all females compared with 18% of all males. Women experienced higher rates than men of anxiety (18% and 11% respectively) and affective disorders (7.5% and 5.2% respectively). However, men had three times the rate of substance use disorders (6.3% compared with 2.0% for women).
The provision of care for the aged continues to increase. The ratio of total care provided, either as places in residential care or as care provided to the aged at home, has increased from 97.4 per 1,000 persons aged 70 years and over in 2003 to 111.5 in 2008. Residential aged care provision increased in absolute terms from 52,313 places at 30 June 2003 to 60,258 places at 30 June 2008. In the same period the provision of Community Aged Care Packages rose from 9,628 to 13,568. Available packages for Extended Aged Care at Home and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia increased from 990 at 30 June 2006 to 2,090 at 30 June 2008.
In 2007-08, there were 2,356,334 hospital separations in NSW, equivalent to an age standardised rate of 33,148.0 separations per 100,000 population.
Variations in hospitalisation rates among health areas reflect many factors such as access to primary health care and a tendency to hospitalise people who come from remote areas.
Of the over 2.3 million people admitted to hospital in NSW in 2007-08, approximately 56,300 identified as Indigenous. The most common reason of hospital separation for Indigenous people living in NSW was care involving dialysis (25.4%). External causes of harm, such as transport accidents, assaults, self-inflicted harm and falls, accounted for 11.2% of the hospital separation for Indigenous people living in NSW.
Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.
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