This report is a summary of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report on the Australian Burden of Disease and Injury Study. The Study used the methods developed for the Global Burden of Disease Study, adapted to the Australian context and drawing extensively on Australian sources of population health data. This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the amount of ill-health and disability, the ‘burden of disease’, in Australia in 1996.

Mortality, disability, impairment, illness and injury arising from 176 diseases, injuries and 10 risk factors are measured using a common metric, the Disability-Adjusted Life Year or DALY. One DALY is a lost year of ‘healthy’ life and is calculated as a combination of years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLL) and equivalent ‘healthy’ years of life lost due to disability (YLD).

The report addresses the need for comprehensive and comparable information on the causes of loss of health in the Australian population. Information on the size and causes of health problems in Australia will assist national and State planning and priority setting for public health, health services, and health and medical research. The study provides the first detailed and internally consistent estimates for Australia of the incidence, prevalence, duration, mortality and disease burden for the 176 disease and injury categories. It has also taken first steps towards quantifying the burden associated with a range of risk factors and health determinants and with socieconomic disadvantage.