Dimension: Healthy throughout life
Proportion of people with one or more selected chronic health conditions
Why does this matter
Chronic conditions are an ongoing cause of ill health, disability and can limit the extent to which people can enjoy their lives, making them an important measure of national health and wellbeing in Australia.
Chronic conditions generally have long-lasting and persistent effects and include conditions such as coronary heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.1
Many chronic conditions have behavioural and biomedical risk factors that contribute to their development, for example: tobacco smoking, insufficient physical activity, poor diet, excess weight, and high blood pressure or cholesterol. While recognising these risks can be driven or reinforced by factors beyond a person’s control, the management of risk factors can reduce the likelihood of developing a chronic condition, resulting in health and wellbeing gains throughout the course of life.
Has there been progress
The prevalence of chronic conditions is increasing in Australia.
This trend is associated with a number of factors, including the prevalence of modifiable risk factors, the fact that people are living longer and that improvements in the treatment and management of chronic conditions have extended life expectancies.2
In 2020-21, nearly half of Australians of all ages (46.6 per cent) had one or more chronic conditions, and almost one in five (18.6 per cent) had two or more chronic conditions – a state of health known as multimorbidity.3
3 The 2020-21 chronic conditions data sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey 2020-21, was collected online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and represents a break in the time series.