Health risk factors are attributes, characteristics or exposures that increase the likelihood of a person developing a disease or health disorder. Behavioural risk factors are those that individuals have the most ability to modify. Biomedical risk factors are bodily states that are often influenced by behavioural risk factors.
Many factors influence how healthy we are. All these influencing factors are known collectively as determinants of health.
Health determinants can influence our health in either a positive or negative way. Determinants affecting health in a negative way are commonly referred to as risk factors. They can increase the likelihood of developing a chronic disease, or interfere in the management of existing conditions.
There are different groups of risk factors, behavioural risk factors are risk factors that individuals have the most ability to modify, such as diet, tobacco smoking and drinking alcohol. Biomedical risk factors are bodily states that carry relatively direct and specific risks for health—such as overweight and obesity and high blood pressure—and are often influenced by health behaviours.
Many chronic diseases share behavioural and biomedical risk factors that are largely preventable. Modifying these risk factors can reduce an individual's risk of developing a chronic disease and result in large health gains by reducing illness and rates of death.
Some of these function on an individual level, for example, health behaviours or genetic make-up, while others function at a broader societal level, such as the availability of health services or a clean and healthy environment.
Web report |
18 Aug 2021
Web report |
27 Nov 2020
26 Oct 2018
Coronary heart disease, back pain, dementia, COPD, and lung cancer were the top 5 diseases causing burden in 2018
5 million years of healthy life were lost in 2018
One in four (25%) children and adolescents aged 2–17 were overweight or obese in 2017–18
Australia had the 6th highest proportion of overweight or obese people aged 15+ among 22 OECD member countries in 2019
Since 1995, the contribution of added sugars, total fat and saturated fat to energy intake has generally decreased
About one-third of Australians’ energy is from discretionary foods. This is highest for teenagers aged 14–18, at 41%
More reports and statistics on risk factors can be found under Chronic disease, Overweight & obesity, Food & nutrition, Physical activity, Smoking, Alcohol and Social determinants.
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