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International comparisons reveal that Australians enjoy good health, and that the underlying health trends are broadly in step with health improvements occurring elsewhere, particularly in other developed countries. For example, in terms of disability-adjusted life expectancy, Australia ranks second only to Japan.

Health comparisons with other countries provide a useful tool for benchmarking improved outcomes that are possible to achieve. They also form the basis for achieving efficiencies in health outlay and expenditure, given the experience of other countries.

Several sections of Australian society, including Indigenous people, do not enjoy as good health as the rest of the population. (See Australia's health 2012.)

In 1998 AIHW published a report, International health - how Australia compares, comparing the health of Australians with their counterparts in 19 other countries. The report examines our international standing for a range of different health and health-related indicators, providing most recent trend data for 70 different indicators. Areas examined include population, fertility and pregnancy, important causes of ill-health, mortality, health services and resources, and health determinants.