A new report, Health at a glance-OECD indicators 2005 is the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's third
biennial report comparing key health data across its 30 member
countries. Australian data for the report were supplied by the
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report shows that in 2002, Australia's mortality rate of 526
per 100,000 (OECD age standardised) was the second lowest among
OECD countries and well below the OECD average of 650 per 100,000.
Only Japan at 449 per 100,000 had a lower rate.
Substantial declines in cardiovascular disease mortality in
recent decades have contributed to Australia's low rate.
The amount of resources Australia devotes to health expenditure
has increased from 7.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1990, to
9.3% in 2002 (more recent Australian data shows that the ratio rose
to 9.7% in 2003). This trend of rising expenditure on health care
was also evident in other OECD countries.
Australia ranked 10th in terms of per capita health expenditure
in 2002, spending about half of what the United States spends per
person (AUD $3,678, equivalent to USD $2,699 per person).
The main drivers of increasing health expenditure in most OECD
countries are the demands of an ageing population and the
development and increased use of medical technologies and
Australians gained an average 9.4 years in life expectancy
between 1960 and 2003, to 83 years for women and 78 years for men,
putting Australia in the top six countries for both men and
In controlling childhood disease and mortality, immunisation has
been shown to be one of the most effective measures.
'In 2003, Australia had 92% immunisation coverage for
diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, which was slightly below the
OECD average of 94%, and 94% for measles, which was above the OECD
average of 91%,' AIHW's Mr Michael de Looper said.
The report shows that Australia is among the world leaders in
reduced tobacco consumption, with 19.8% of adults aged 15 years and
over smoking daily in 2001, reducing to 17.7% in 2004. Among other
OECD countries, an average of 26% of adults aged 15 years and over
smoked daily in 2003, rising to 30% or more in Japan, Korea, the
Netherlands, Hungary and Greece.
In contrast, Australians aged 25-64 had relatively high adult
obesity rates (22% in 1999-2000). Other countries with similar
higher rates are the United States (31% of adults aged 20-74 in
2002), Mexico (24% of adults aged 15 years and over in 2000), and
the United Kingdom (23% of adults aged 16 years and over in
9 November 2005
Further information: Mr Michael de Looper,
AIHW, 61 2 6244 1137 or 0407 915 851.
Printed/bound copies:news [dot] contact [at] oecd [dot]
The OECD media release is available at http://www.oecd.org/health/healthataglance/
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