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Aussies courting chronic disease

About two-thirds of Australians have health issues caused by risk factors that are "modifiable", such as exercise, diet and smoking, a new report shows.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, which was released on Wednesday, uses data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to paint a picture of the multitude of factors that are putting people at risk of chronic diseases.

The study found 95 per cent of adults did not consume the recommended amounts of two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day.

Almost two-in-three were overweight or obese and over half were inactive or insufficiently active.

Further, 32 per cent had high blood pressure, 33 per cent high blood cholesterol and 16 per cent smoked daily.

"These are not just statistics, they are early death sentences," said Mary Barry, CEO of the Heart Foundation.

Overall the study found 66 per cent of the adult population have at least three or more risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

AIHW spokesperson Sushma Mathur said risk factors are behaviours or characteristics that increase the likelihood of developing a particular disease, and people with more than one risk factor are at greater risk.

"The good news is that most of these risk factors are modifiable, or can be controlled to help reduce the risk of developing these chronic diseases," Ms Mathur said.


Listen below to hear from Rohan Greenland, general manager, advocacy at the Heart Foundation.

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