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released: 8 May 2014 author: AIHW media release

Coronary heart disease is Australia’s leading cause of death, and although death rates have fallen substantially over recent decades, declines among some age groups appear to have slowed. Trends in coronary heart disease mortality: age groups and populations examines how the decline has varied between young adults, middle-aged and older persons, and among different population groups, including by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, geographic location and socioeconomic status.

ISSN 1323-9236; ISBN 978-1-74249-558-3; Cat. no. CVD 67; 75pp.; $13

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Summary

This report examines how trends in the decline of coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality differ among age groups, and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, geographic location and socioeconomic status (SES).

All Australians

Although the CHD death rate has declined in Australia between 1979 and 2010, the average annual rate of change for all Australians has varied between age groups and over time:

  • Less favourable trends have been observed in people aged 25-39, 40-54, and 55-69, with a recent slowing in the annual average rate of decline.
  • For men aged 40-54, the decline slowed from -6.6% to -3.2%, and for women from -7.4% to -2.7%. For men aged 55-69, from -6.8% to -5.1%, and for women from -8.4% to -5%.
  • For men and women aged 70 years and over, who are most at risk of CHD death, mortality declines have continued to improve and are currently -5.1% per year.

Unfavourable trends in some key risk factors for cardiovascular diseases are thought to underlie the slowing of the decline in CHD deaths among younger age groups

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

CHD mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remain higher than for other Australians, although between 2001-2002 and 2009-2010 there was improvement in the gap for all age groups, more so for Indigenous women than men:

  • Annual average declines in CHD death rates were greater for Indigenous women than for other Australian women for the age groups 40-54 (-4.3% compared to -2.2%) and 70 or over (-3.8% compared to -3.3%).

Geographic location

Overall trends in CHD mortality decline were less favourable among people living in the most remote areas of Australia:

  • Between 2001-2002 and 2009-2010, annual average declines were greatest in Major cities, for both men (-4.1%) and women (-4.3%).
  • Annual average declines were greatest for men at age 55-69 in Inner regional and Outer regional areas (both -4.8%), and for women at age 55-69 in Inner regional areas (-6%).

Socioeconomic status

Overall trends in CHD mortality decline were less favourable among the lowest SES group:

  • In the highest SES group, there was a 47% decline among both men and women aged 25 or over, compared to 40% for men and women in the lowest SES group between 1997 and 2007.
  • For men and women in younger age groups, the CHD mortality gap narrowed between the lowest and highest SES groups, whereas the gap widened for those aged for 70 or over.

Recommended citation

AIHW 2014. Trends in coronary heart disease mortality: age groups and populations. Cardiovascular disease series no. 38. Cat. no. CVD 67. Canberra: AIHW.