Risk factor specific methods

This page describes in detail the methods unique to each risk factor included in the ABDS 2018. It is focused on the calculation of exposure estimates, as this was the aspect of risk estimation most influenced by Australia-specific data. The amount of detail described for each risk factor varies; more detail is included for risk factors for which there were new developments in the ABDS 2018, in particular, dietary risks.

Overarching methods and choices for risk factors describes the overall method used to calculate the PAFs and attributable burden, including the selection of linked diseases, estimation of effect sizes (relative risks), and assumptions for TMREDs (see risk factor specific methods).

The linked diseases and relative risks were sourced from the GBD 2019 or an AIHW review of the literature as described here and in Overarching methods and choices for risk factors. Most TMREDs were also sourced from the GBD 2019, with the exceptions described in the Risk factor-specific methods.

Exposure to risk factors in the lifetime of the individuals in the population can influence the proportion of burden in the reference year. For risk factors such as tobacco use, occupational risks, alcohol use, child abuse and neglect, illicit drug use, and unsafe sex, the burden can continue to exist from past exposure levels. Where evidence of ever being exposed to a risk factor can be linked to current burden, this is included in the analyses and described under the individual risk factor.

For some risk factors, such as overweight (including obesity), current exposure can have an impact on future burden. This is not accounted for in this study as the burden pertains to the reference year.

Not all risk factors are relevant to all population (age and sex) groups. For example, the bulk of the burden from high blood pressure occurs for people aged 25 and over. The choices for population groups and type of burden (fatal or non-fatal) were informed by the GBD 2019 (GBD 2019 Risk Factor Collaborators 2020). The population group for which attributable burden from a given risk factor has been estimated is described in each section.

Also, both fatal and non-fatal burden are relevant for most linked diseases in the study. For others, such as back pain & problems linked to occupational risks, only non-fatal burden has been estimated.

A supplementary table contains detailed definitions, data sources and linked diseases for all risk factors (Table S4.2).

Behavioural risk factors

Metabolic/biomedical risk factors

Environmental risk factors