Researchers at the University of Queensland's (UQ) School of Population Health have predicted that health loss by type 2 diabetes will be more than double in Australia by 2023, while health loss from most other major causes would fall.
Health loss is measured by the 'disability adjusted life year' (DALY) with one DALY equalling one lost year of healthy life. It represents the gap between current health status and an ideal situation of the whole population living into old age.
The researchers assessed and predicted the burden of disease and injury in Australia from 1993 to 2023, measuring the health loss from diseases, injuries and risk factors.
The study by Stephen Begg, Dr Theo Vos, Bridget Barker, Lucy Stanley and Professor Alan Lopez, stated that cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological and sense disorders, chronic respiratory disease and injuries led to 75 percent of health loss in the patients.
"Health loss was more than a third (31.7 percent) higher in the lower socio-economic quintile than in the highset and 26.5 percent higher in remote areas than in major cities," said Begg.
The research team scrutinized 14 key risk factors for these conditions including tobacco use, high blood pressure, high body mass, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption.
"All of the health risks are open to modification through intervention. For example the predicted strong growth in health loss associated with diabetes is notable as it is mostly due to increased body mass," said Dr Vos.
"If new approaches to encourage Australians to maintain a healthy body weight could be as successful as the anti-smoking campaigns that have helped reduce cardiovascular disease, we may be able to reduce increasing diabetes rates," he added.
The study authors have predicted that though many causes of health loss, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and injuries will fall by 2023, some including mental disorders, neurological and sense disorders (such as hearing loss), muscoskeletal disorders and type 2 diabetes, in particular, will rise over that same period.