Australia has one of the highest life expectancies in the world and the majority of people consider themselves to be in good health. However, not all of us are as healthy as we could be, and one-third of deaths are considered premature because the person was under the age of 75.

Chronic diseases such as cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes are the leading cause of ill health and death in Australia. Two-thirds of the burden of disease is due to 5 disease groups: cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental and substance use disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, and injuries.

Health is also not the same for all population groups. Due to a range of factors, people living with disability, on average, experience significantly poorer health than those without disability. Nearly 1 in 5 Australians—that’s about 4.3 million people—have disability, and around 1 in 3 of people with disability have severe or profound limitation.