'The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003' provides a comprehensive assessment of the health status of Australians. The report measures mortality, disability, impairment, illness and injury arising from 176 diseases, injuries and risk factors using a common metric, the disability-adjusted life year or DALY, and methods developed by the Global Burden of Disease Study. Burden of disease analysis gives a unique perspective on health. Fatal and non-fatal outcomes are integrated, but can be examined separately as well. This report provides detailed estimates of the burden of mortality and disability for each disease and injury category by sex and age. It also assesses the burden attributable to each of 14 major risk factors, and inequalities in the disease burden associated with socioeconomic disadvantage.