Australians are living longer but our general health is worsening, with experts warning that much of what is killing us is preventable.
Stress, excess kilos and poor fitness all afflict the average Aussie worker, an “alarming” new study has found.
“Your average working Australian is overweight, unfit, has a cholesterol or blood pressure problem and is stressed — that is a bad average,” said Dr John Lang, CEO of the Workplace Health Association of Australia (WHAA).
A healthier lifestyle could reduce the risk of all of these. As a result, prevention needs to be “a top priority”, Dr Lang said.
Before you can get your health on track, it might be helpful to know what you’re up against.
This new study conducted by WHAA and the Uni of Wollongong was based on workers alone, so it may not be an accurate snapshot of the entire nation.
With that in mind, The New Daily has researched the health of the average Australian adult, regardless of their working status.
See how you compare below.
You are probably overweight or obese, just like 63 per cent of the nation.
This is probably because you eat too much. Stop guzzling more than 2,400 calories (male) or 1800 calories (female).
You never eat enough vegetables. Ever. Only 6 per cent of the nation get the recommended dose of five serves a day. You probably eat enough fruit though — at least two serves. Just over half (52 per cent) eat that amount a day.
You also don’t get enough physical activity, which is making you fatter, weakening your bones and muscles, and putting you at risk of all kinds of diseases. Try getting at least 30 minutes every week day.
If you do have the good fortune to be in good shape, you are probably a woman living in the city. Diet, exercise and obesity are worst amongst men living in rural areas.
If you’re male, you probably don’t wear glasses or contact lenses and have no problems with your eyes.
If you’re a woman, you are probably either long-sighted or short-sighted, and may also have astigmatism, presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration.
Just under half of Australians have a long-term eye problem, with women significantly more likely to suffer from vision impairment.
You visited the dentist once last year for a check-up, which you probably claimed on your insurance plan.
If you have untreated tooth decay, as do 1-in-3 Aussies, you are probably uninsured.
More than a quarter (28 per cent) of Australians avoid the dentist because of how expensive these visits can be.
You don’t smoke and never have.
Or if you do, it’s not very often. Only 12.8 per cent of Australian adults smoke daily, with a further 3 per cent taking the occasional puff.
That’s a good thing because tobacco smoking kills more than 15,000 people each year, and is a risk factor for cancer, stroke, heart disease and many other conditions.
You’re probably a drinker. At least once a year, and possibly once a week.
If you drink daily, you’re probably male and over the age of 60.
Approximately 84 per cent of adults drank alcohol at least once in the last 12 months. Of those, most were weekly drinkers (41 per cent).
You’ve probably never even tried an illicit drug.
If you have, it was probably marijuana and you are probably between the age of 18 and 29 years.
The last time you smoked up, it was at home or your mate’s place.
Just over a third (38 per cent) of adults have taken drugs at some point in their lives.
You are probably on at least one prescription pill subsidised by the government.
It’s probably a drug to reduce your blood cholesterol.
More than 234 million prescription medicines are dispensed yearly.
You probably haven’t been to the hospital in the past year.
If you have, you are probably a female treated in a public hospital for kidney dialysis.
If you’ve had surgery, it was probably in a private hospital to get your appendix removed.
Of the more than 9.7 million hospital visits each year, 5.7 million were in public hospitals, and 53 per cent were for women.
Cause of death
If you make it to age 45 or older, it’s likely you will die of coronary heart disease. If not, you’ll probably die of a stroke or a bleed in the brain; some kind of cancer; dementia or Alzheimer disease; or pneumonia.
If all goes well, you’ll probably die at 84 if you’re a woman or 80 if you’re a man.