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Health Gap Widens Between Australians with Disability and those Without


Thursday, 25th February 2016 at 10:25 am
Lina Caneva
Australians with disability are still significantly more likely to report having poor health, be smokers and be obese than those without disability, according to a new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Thursday, 25th February 2016
at 10:25 am
Lina Caneva


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Health Gap Widens Between Australians with Disability and those Without
Thursday, 25th February 2016 at 10:25 am

Australians with disability are still significantly more likely to report having poor health, be smokers and be obese than those without disability, according to a new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report, Health status and risk factors of Australians with disability, showed that just over half (51 per cent) of Australians aged 15-64 with severe or profound disability rated their health as “poor or fair”, compared with 6 per cent for those without disability.

The latest figures show that people aged 15-64 with severe or profound disability were twice as likely to smoke daily (31 per cent for those with severe or profound disability versus 15 per cent for those without disability) and 1.8 times as likely to start daily smoking before the age of 18 (41 per cent versus 23 per cent).

It found that almost half reported doing no physical exercise (46 per cent of people with severe or profound disability, versus 31 per cent for those without disability) and they were 1.7 times as likely as those without disability to be obese.

The report said this group also had a higher prevalence of various types of long-term health conditions, and were more than three times as likely as those without disability to have three or more long-term health conditions (74 per cent versus 23 per cent).

“Half of people under 65 with severe or profound disability had mental health conditions, compared with 8 per cent for those without disability,” AIHW spokesperson Mark Cooper-Stanbury said.

“Additionally, among people aged under 65 with a mental health condition, those with severe or profound disability were more likely than those without disability to acquire a mental health condition before the age of 25 (39 per cent versus 28 per cent).”

He said people aged under 65 with severe or profound disability were four times as likely as those without disability to have arthritis. Among people aged under 65 with arthritis, half (49 per cent) of those with severe or profound disability acquired the condition before the age of 45, compared with 37 per cent for those without disability.

The AIHW is a national agency set up by the Federal Government to provide regular information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.

Read the full report here.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.


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