Thursday, December 9, 2010

Australia's Health

I was in a kind of rushed mood this morning, but wanted to take a look at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report for myself. 

I think this is it right here.   You can download the PDF, which I just did.  I'm reading through it now.

I'll do that, and then I'm going to get my daily dose of Sims 3.  I recently named one of my neighborhood people after Julian Assange.

Oh, and I told Tim what was going on. He hadn't been keeping up with all that.   I got Tim on board with my very righteous anger.  He actually called the credit card company, and left them a very pointed message. 

Back to health.....

This PDF file is 579 pages.   Of course I'm not going to read all of it.

I'm on page 30 now.

It has various facts.

Australian women, on average, live longer than men.  Female average life span at birth is 84 years.   For men, it's 79 years.

Fertility rate in Australia is fairly high; or high for Australia.  It's the highest it's been since 1977.   That's the year my sister was born.

Now I'm on page 32.  The median age in Australia is 36.9.  That's the age in the middle, not the average.   I think that means half of Australians are younger than 36, and half are older.   I hope I'm right.   It would be sad if I've forgotten basic statistics.

There're lots of old people in Australia. In 1971, there was 200 people over the age of a hundred.   In 2009, there are 3700.   That sounds like good news.

Now if there are more elderly folks, wouldn't that mean there are more people dying of elderly folk diseases?   Would we have an increase in heart disease?  Strokes?   Cancer?   Diabetes?   Now I know young folks suffer from these problems as well.  But I think in many disorders/diseases, the rates increase with age.

Now I'm on page 34, and we've got more on the fertility rates.   Australia's is 1.97.  It needs to be at 2.1 to replace the dead people. Or Australia can accept more migrants. They could also enjoy a less crowded country.  

Hey, and there's also the option of finding a necromancer and raising the dead. I just finished reading a novel about that.   

Aboriginal Australians are popping out babies faster than the rest of the population. They got a fertility score of 2.52.  So no huge need to worry that Australia will be overrun with foreigners.   

Now I'm on page 35.  It talks about how people are having babies at later ages.   Starting in 2004, more mommies were 35-39 rather than 20-24. 

Oh!  This is a fun chart they have here.  So when my mom had my sisters and me....the most popular age for having kids was 25-29.   My mom fit in there, although she had my older sister when she was 21.  The most popular age now for baby making is 35-39.

I had Jack when I was 28.  I was slightly younger than the average, I suppose.

And this is all assuming that America has similar results to Australia.  It's hard for me to imagine that they'd be THAT different. 

Page 36 shows death rates of certain age groups.

People over the age of 85 have the highest rates of death.  That sounds very fair to me.

Male and female infants have close to the same death rate as men who are 45-64.  Kind of interesting.

Male teens are much more likely to die than female teens.   It looks like there's almost a three-fold rate.   Again though, don't take my statistic utterances too seriously.  I'm not an expert on this stuff.   If it's interesting to you, I highly suggest you check out the report for yourself.

I skipped ahead to page 54.  There's a mental health chart.  I'm trying to read it.

I don't understand it, so I'm reading the information above.

I don't really get that either.  It goes over my head.  I'm going to skip it.

Page 55 has a chart of health issues.  I think I understand this one. The most common problem for both men and women is long-sightedness.   Can we blame obesity on that?

Page 56 shows the most common health problem for children 1-14 is not diabetes (a common scare tactic of anti-obesity folks).  It's asthma.  Does obesity cause asthma?  This article says....probably.   So although you don't need to freak out if you and your loved ones are a few kilos overweight, you might want to avoid being very overweight.

But you know, there are probably LOTS of factors involved....such as air quality, genetics, over-sanitation, etc.

Now I'm reading about causes of death on page 62.  If you look at all the ages, the most likely reason to die is heart disease.   

It's much more meaningful if you break it down by age.  We have that on page 63. 

Infants are most likely to die from prenatal things.   I'm not sure how much of that is congenital, and how much was caused by something during the pregnancy.

Children ages 1-14 are most likely to die from injury.  The same goes for people 15-44.   We need to probably worry less about dieting, and more about being careful.    I know can't always prevent injuries.  You can't help it if you're sitting in a restaurant, and a truck comes plowing through.

Once you get to age 45, cancer beats out injuries as cause of death.

Cancer stays on top until age 85, and then cardiovascular disease wins.

Now I'm on page 74, and it's talking about the obesity stuff.

Australia's smoking rate is decreasing. That's good.  But the study shows that 1/6 adults smoke.   That seems like a lot to me.

61% of adults are overweight or obese.   The question many of those adults are overweight to a dangerous degree? 

STD's are increasing.   Yikes. 

I'm getting tired, and majorly skipping ahead.

Page 104 has information on the dangers of inactivity.

If I'm reading this right, inactivity is an example of something called modifiable health risks. I guess it's stuff we do to ourselves: smoke, drink, have unprotected sex, eat too much, etc.

The PDF says inactivity rates second for Australians.  The first is smoking.  

Finally.  I found the body weight stuff.  I'm going to read that (Starting at page 124), and then play balloon toss with Jack.   I guess Sims 3 will have to wait. 

Being overweight can cause health problems.  Most of us know that.  The PDF reminds us that being underweight can cause health problems as well. 

1/50 Australians are underweight.  So it IS less of concern than obesity issues.  In addition,  Now we have to ask the same question that's been asked about the overweight thing. How many of the 1/50 are dangerously underweight?  

For Australian females my age, 42.8% have a healthy weight.  22% are obese. The rest are overweight, and then there's a small number who are underweight.

Obesity rates are highest for men 55-64.   So if we want to target some people in your campaigns, there you have it.  

From ages 2-3 and 14-16, boys are more likely than girls to be overweight.  Girls 4-13 are more likely than boys to be overweight.

There was a big increase of childhood obesity from the 1980's to 1990's, but since then it HAS pretty much stabilized. 

Still, it would be nice if we could return to the 1980 rates. Do we need to freak out, scare people, and ridicule those who have a little extra baggage?   Probably not.

I'd say stop the smoking, cut back on the drinking and drugs, don't eat the whole package of Tim Tams in one sitting, and do some dancing.  

If you take fairly good care of your health, and you're not a cute petite thing..... I wouldn't beat yourself up over that.   

I'm going to play commercial now.   This is how I keep MY weight in check.     I use it a lot, and I love it.    I promise that I'm not being paid (in any shape or form) to say this.  

I think it's SO much better than going to a gym.   I know if I depended on a gym for my workout, it would never happen.   I'm way too lazy for that.    And I'm too picky about weather to take walks on a regular basis.    Although I did walk to the library today.    I got one Australian book--a Margo Lanagan thing.  I didn't much like her collection of short stories, but maybe I'll like her novel-writing better.  Lanagan googles herself....or at least she used to.   I wonder if she'll end up here.   She'll probably be wondering why the HELL she's in a post about Australia health.