Health status

Understanding Australia’s health
This area of study includes:
– Measuring the health status of Australians using life
expectancy, disease burden and mortality statistics
– Factors that affect the health of individuals and how health
can vary amongst different groups within the population
– Nutrients needed for optimal health and their food sources
– Using RDI, BMI and consumption and nutrition surveys to
measure the nutrition status of Australians
– Nutrient intake and its influence on the incidence of
diet-related diseases in Australia
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Measuring the health status of
Do you know the
definitions of these terms
used to measure health?
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Life expectancy
Burden of disease
Infant mortality rate
Changes in Australia’s health
status over time
Health status
• Life expectancy has
• Rates of heart disease have
• Road crashes have
• Poisonings and injuries in
children have decreased
• Infectious disease rates
have decreased
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Reasons for improvements
• Improved medical
• Health promotion strategies
• Better nutritional knowledge
and wider food choices
• Increased education on
health issues
• Immunisation programs
Factors affecting the health of
Australians and different
groups within the population
Even though Australia is essentially a healthy country, the
population’s health is affected by factors known as the
determinants of health:
Biomedical factors (e.g. high blood pressure)
Lifestyle and behaviour (e.g. physical activity level)
Environmental factors (e.g. ozone depletion, quality housing)
Genetic factors (e.g. predisposition for disease)
Knowledge, attitudes and belief (e.g. knowledge regarding the
effects of smoking on health)
Can you give two more examples of influences from each of the
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Significant contributors to the
burden of disease in Australia
These include:
• Cancers, including lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, cervical and stomach
• Cardiovascular disease, including stroke and ischaemic heart disease
• Poisonings and injuries, including road trauma, work-related injuries, drugrelated poisonings, falls, violence-related injuries and suicide
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
• Diabetes
• Mental health disorders, including depression and dementia
The prevalence and incidence of disease burden changes for different
lifespan stages. Can you link the examples above with the different
stages of the lifespan? Can you give more examples for each of the
stages of the lifespan?
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Groups within the population and
their health
• Common causes of death and illness in Australia include
heart disease, cancer, diabetes and asthma. Some
groups that exist within the Australian population have
different rates of death and illness than the total
• Groups within the population with inequalities
in health status include:
Indigenous populations
Males and females
Populations living in rural and remote areas
Populations of a low socioeconomic status
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Discussion questions
1. Can you identify ways in which the
health status of each of the
population groups indicated differs
from the rest of the population of
2. Discuss reasons why the people
within the different population
groups experience these
differences in health status.
3. In what way does your lifestyle,
behaviour and environment affect
your health?
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Nutrients needed for health and their
food sources
• There are six essential nutrients: protein, carbohydrates,
fats, vitamins, minerals and water
• Functions that nutrients perform include:
– Energy production
– Growth, repair and replacement of body cells and tissues
– Regulation of daily body processes
Give examples of specific nutrients involved in each of the
functions listed above.
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Nutrients are needed in different quantities
throughout the lifespan.
Needs differ according to growth
patterns, level of activity and
lifestyle-related stresses such as
suffering illness or disease.
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Food sources of different nutrients
Food groups provide certain nutrients in
noteworthy quantities, including:
• Milk and milk products (calcium, protein, fats,
vitamin A, Vitamin D, phosphorus)
• Meat, poultry, fish and eggs (protein, iron, zinc,
fats, iodine)
• Fruit (vitamin C, B group vitamins, potassium
• Vegetables (carbohydrates, vitamin A, vitamin C,
iron, vitamin E)
• Breads and cereals (carbohydrates, B group
vitamins, iron)
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Measuring nutritional status
• RDI – recommended dietary intakes
– The amount of essential nutrients that are considered
adequate to meet the needs of healthy people
• BMI – body mass index
– A formula used to assess body weight in relation to height
BMI = weight (kg) ÷ height (m2)
A BMI below 20 = underweight; 20–24 = healthy weight; 25–29 = overweight
30+ = obese
• Food consumption and nutrition surveys
– Aim to monitor and assess food consumption and related behaviour
within the Australian population over a period of time
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Discussion questions
1. Why is it important to eat a wide
range of different foods every day?
2. Consider your own food intake.
Are all the main food groups
represented? Are there any nutrients
you are not getting enough of?
3. What do the acronyms RDI and BMI
stand for?
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Nutrient intake and diet-related
diseases in Australia
• Diet-related diseases are conditions that can be
linked to imbalances in an individual’s diet
• Inadequate or inappropriate intake of certain
nutrients can cause the onset of particular
illnesses such as:
cancer (colorectal)
iron-deficiency anaemia
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
cardiovascular disease
dental decay
folate-deficiency anemia
Nutrition as a risk or protective
factor for disease
Risk nutritional factors that can lead to diet-related diseases include:
high intake of saturated fats
low intake of fruits and vegetables
low intake of fibre
high intake of sodium
low intake of iron, folate, calcium
Protective nutritional factors include:
high fibre intake
adequate intake of vitamins such as A, C and folate, and minerals
such as iron and calcium
low fat intake, especially saturated fats
low sodium intake
Can you identify the disease that a person may be at risk of with the examples
of risk nutritional factors listed above?
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Cost of diet-related illnesses
• The high incidence of diet-related illnesses in
Australia has consequences for both individuals
and the community. These can include:
– Direct costs (e.g. financial costs, such as medication, hospital
care and government spending on the healthcare system)
– Indirect costs (e.g. quality of life costs, such as the inability to
attend to family duties, and reduced productivity, such as being
unable to attend work)
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007
Discussion questions
1. Why is there so much concern about the
prevalence of diet-related diseases in
2. Discuss other possible costs to individuals and
the community of each of the diseases
© Goodacre, Slattery, Upton 2007