Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014 Australiaâ€™s health 2014.
Australiaâ€™s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW.
3.4 Are we getting healthier?
Australians have one of the longest life expectancies in the world, but does this mean we are healthier
than our parents or grandparents?
The concept of what it is to be â€˜healthyâ€™ encompasses more than just how many years a person
livesâ€”for example, it could also include consideration of how many of those years are spent in good
health or with disability or chronic illness.
While a baby born today can expect to live about 30 more years than a baby born in the late 1800s, he
or she will face a set of different health challenges, largely driven by lifestyle factors not encountered
by previous generations.
Extra â€˜healthyâ€™ years
A boy born in 1881â€“1890 had a life expectancy of 47.2 years and a baby girl 50.8 years. Today, a baby
boy can expect to live to 79.9 and a baby girl to 84.3 (see Chapter 3 â€˜Life expectancyâ€™).
Importantly, we are not just living longer, but have more years living free of disability. A baby boy born
in 2012 could expect to live 62.4 years free of disability and 17.5 years with some form of disability.
This compares with a baby boy born in 1998 who could expect to live 58 years free of disability and
17.9 years with some form of disability. A baby girl born in 2012 could expect to live 64.5 years free
of disability and 19.8 years with some form of disability. This compares with a baby girl born in 1998
who could expect to live 62.1 years free of disability and 19.4 years with some form of disability
(AIHWÂ forthcoming) (see Chapter 6 â€˜Ageing and the health systemâ€™).
â€˜Age-standardisedâ€™ refers to removing, statistically, the influence of differing age structures when
comparing populations. See Glossary for more information.
There has been a long and continuing decline in death rates in Australia. Between 190