Poor diet leading cause of disease in Australia

Burnet Institute

27 November, 2013

Professor Alan D. Lopez presents findings from the GBD 2010 Study at Burnet Institute.

Poor diet is the leading cause of the disease burden in Australia according to results from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 Study.

Co-author of the GBD Study, Professor Alan D. Lopez summarised the key findings and examined implications for health policy worldwide and in Australia at the Burnet Director’s Seminar.

Professor Lopez said that to ensure important input into health policy debate a brief description of each country’s burden of disease is needed.

“Without that, important health challenges may be missed or ignored and others may be over emphasised,” he said.

The GBD 2010 Study analysed data from 187 countries to assess death and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors.

Professor Lopez said 10 per cent of Australia’s burden of disease is due to poor diet choices – not enough fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables, and an excessive salt intake.

He compared the impact of obesity to the affects of tobacco when talking about what is causing sickness and death in Australia and New Zealand.

The study also showed there has been rapid and sustained progress in reducing child and maternal mortality globally since 1990.

“However, tuberculosis, HIV and malaria each cause 1 to 1.5 million premature deaths a year and they must remain a target of global health focus,” Professor Lopez said.

Professor Lopez is a Melbourne Laureate Professor and the Rowden-White Chair of Global Health and Burden of Disease Measurement at The University of Melbourne. He is also Director of the Global Burden of Disease Group in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.


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