We’re living longer but alcohol

Saving our health … the bad habits that are killing us have been revealed. Source: ThinkStock

WE’RE living longer, surviving cancer and fewer of us are dying from heart disease but our bad habits are to blame for the diseases that are killing us.

A comprehensive snapshot of the nation’s health has also sadly found that suicide, not cancer or heart disease, is the leading cause of death of both men and women aged 15-44.

There were 2535 deaths from suicide in 2012 and 200 people attempt suicide every day.

Lifeline says suicides have reached a 10-year peak and the crisis support agency has answered more than 64,000 calls from help-seekers so far this year, up 14 per cent on last year.

Accidental poisoning was the second most common cause of death for men aged 25-44 and the third biggest killer of women of this age.

This includes deaths caused by medications, pesticides, gases and other chemicals.

But promisingly, Australians are now living on average 25 years longer than a century ago according to Australia’s Health, a biannual government report on the nation’s well-being.

It found a boy born today can expect to live to 79.9 years and a girl to 84.

More people are surviving cancer with two thirds of cancer patients surviving five years past their diagnosis in 2006-2010 compared with just 47 per cent in the mid-1980s.

There was also a 20 per cent fall in heart attack rates between 2007 and 2011 and strokes fell 25 per cent between 1997 and 2009.

Improved immunisation rates and medical advances mean infectious diseases are killing fewer of us.

Meanwhile chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease now cause 90 per cent of all death and disability.

These diseases can be traced back to the health risks caused by our bad habits such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and harmful use of alcohol, the report says.

Smoking rates have fallen but one in six people still smoke daily, 63 per cent of adults are overweight or obese and only 8 per cent of adults eat enough vegetables.

Almost one in two young adults are at risk of harm from drinking more than four standard drinks on a single occasion and just over two in five adults are sufficiently active to meet the recommended guidelines.


Make sure you book in to a Canberra First Aid course over the summer break. We want everyone to stay safe and live healthy lives. Be prepared for an emergency and have all the skills you will need in a first aid situation. Book in to a provide first aid course with Canberra First Aid now.