The major leading causes of death in Australia are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, injury and respiratory diseases.
The main cause of death in Australia for many years has been cardiovascular disease: coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. The cost of heart disease to the Australian economy is over five million dollars per day, while almost every 10 minutes there is a death caused by heart disease. Many of these deaths can be prevented with more regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
Also in Australia death from cancer has been on the increase, with lung cancer accounting for approximately 20% of all cancer deaths. On the other hand, deaths from cervical cancer are falling, mainly due to the early detection through screening that is now readily available but skin cancer remains still a major concern.
Deaths from injury are dominated by car accidents and while these rates are gradually falling, they are still significantly high.
Respiratory deaths tend to fluctuate from year to year depending on the incidence of epidemics. Smoking is the main single factor that affects respiratory fitness. At age 45 years, 26% of males and 23% of females are regular smokers, despite the increasing lack of acceptance of smoking from majority of society.