The burden and trend of diseases and their risk factors in Australia, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019


Sheikh Mohammed Shariful Islam, The Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Ralph Maddison, The Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Riaz Uddin, The Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Kylie Ball, The Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Katherine M. Livingstone, The Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Asaduzzaman Khan, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Jo Salmon, The Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Ilana N. Ackerman, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Tim Adair, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
Oyelola A. Adegboye, James Cook University
Zanfina Ademi, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Ripon Kumar Adhikary, Jashore University of Science and Technology
Bright Opoku Ahinkorah, University of Technology Sydney
Khurshid Alam, Murdoch Business School
Kefyalew Addis Alene, The Faculty of Health Sciences
Sheikh Mohammad Alif, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Azmeraw T. Amare, Adelaide Medical School
Edward Kwabena Ameyaw, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Leopold N. Aminde, Griffith School of Medicine
Deanna Anderlini, Centre for Sensorimotor Performance
Blake Angell, University College London
Adnan Ansar, La Trobe University
Benny Antony, Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Anayochukwu Edward Anyasodor, Charles Sturt University
Victoria Kiriaki Arnet, The University of Adelaide
Thomas Astell-Burt, Menzies Centre for Health Policy
Prince Atorkey, School of Medicine and Public Health
Mamaru Ayenew Awoke, University of Melbourne
Beatriz Paulina Ayala Quintanilla, La Trobe University

Publication Name

The Lancet Public Health


Background: A comprehensive understanding of temporal trends in the disease burden in Australia is lacking, and these trends are required to inform health service planning and improve population health. We explored the burden and trends of diseases and their risk factors in Australia from 1990 to 2019 through a comprehensive analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2019. Methods: In this systematic analysis for GBD 2019, we estimated all-cause mortality using the standardised GBD methodology. Data sources included primarily vital registration systems with additional data from sample registrations, censuses, surveys, surveillance, registries, and verbal autopsies. A composite measure of health loss caused by fatal and non-fatal disease burden (disability-adjusted life-years [DALYs]) was calculated as the sum of years of life lost (YLLs) and years of life lived with disability (YLDs). Comparisons between Australia and 14 other high-income countries were made. Findings: Life expectancy at birth in Australia improved from 77·0 years (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 76·9–77·1) in 1990 to 82·9 years (82·7–83·1) in 2019. Between 1990 and 2019, the age-standardised death rate decreased from 637·7 deaths (95% UI 634·1–641·3) to 389·2 deaths (381·4–397·6) per 100 000 population. In 2019, non-communicable diseases remained the major cause of mortality in Australia, accounting for 90·9% (95% UI 90·4–91·9) of total deaths, followed by injuries (5·7%, 5·3–6·1) and communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases (3·3%, 2·9–3·7). Ischaemic heart disease, self-harm, tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer, stroke, and colorectal cancer were the leading causes of YLLs. The leading causes of YLDs were low back pain, depressive disorders, other musculoskeletal diseases, falls, and anxiety disorders. The leading risk factors for DALYs were high BMI, smoking, high blood pressure, high fasting plasma glucose, and drug use. Between 1990 and 2019, all-cause DALYs decreased by 24·6% (95% UI 21·5–28·1). Relative to similar countries, Australia's ranking improved for age-standardised death rates and life expectancy at birth but not for YLDs and YLLs between 1990 and 2019. Interpretation: An important challenge for Australia is to address the health needs of people with non-communicable diseases. The health systems must be prepared to address the increasing demands of non-communicable diseases and ageing. Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access





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Funding Number

APP 1176885

Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



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