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Chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, asthma and heart disease, are the leading causes of death and disability in Australia. They are caused by multiple factors including genetics, lifestyle and environment, and are expected to become more common as the population ages and risk factors increase. The burden of these conditions can be high, not only for people who have them, but also for their families and carers.

By reporting chronic disease statistics we can monitor patterns of chronic diseases and their determinants, and the outcomes of interventions and health programs, and from these prioritise future health services.

This summary focuses on those chronic conditions that can be prevented or modified by changing behaviours (e.g. stopping smoking), or through medical interventions (e.g. medication).

Indicator categories

There are two categories for indicators of progress for chronic disease and associated determinants:

Category 1 indicators are considered to be 'spotlight' or high-impact in nature, suitable for use in 'one-headline statistic' reporting such as information boxes in newspaper articles or information sidebars. This does not preclude these indicators being reported at more detailed levels. Category 1 indicators are listed in bold and have a (C1) after them.

Category 2 indicators provide further insight into the issues covered by Category 1 indicators. Some Category 2 indicators are composite indicators, for example, incidence of potentially preventable cancers covers a number of selected cancers. Category 2 indicators are listed in plain text and have a (C2) after them.

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