A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that on the international scene overall our health is good - but there are plenty of differences in the details, depending on what aspect of health is being compared.
In International Health - How Australia Compares our health is compared with 19 other developed countries using 70 indicators of health. It draws on data from annual reports to the WHO and the United Nations, complemented by data from the AIHW, ABS, the OECD, and other national and international organisations.
The report's co-author, Dr Kuldeep Bhatia, said that with so many indicators and such diverse countries, some interesting facts emerge.
'For example, when we looked at cigarette smoking - a major cause of death - we found that Australia had the 4th lowest rate of male regular smokers among the developed countries. In 1992 approximately 30% of Australian men were regular smokers, compared with approximately 60% of Japanese men.'
International Health - How Australia Compares also shows that while our birth rate is high compared with other developed countries, in 1994 the birth rate for mothers aged between 25 and 29 - typically the age group with the highest birth rate - was 126 births per 1,000 women, the lowest recorded to that date for Australian women.
Other findings in International Health - How Australia Compares include:
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