New analysis prompts calls for greater investment in chronic disease 13 May 2021 New data analysis by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has shown the devastatingeffects of living with two or more chronic conditions, prompting renewed calls by health groupsfor Government commitment to tackle chronic disease. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death in Australia. One in two Australians have achronic disease and 4.9 million Australians have multiple chronic conditions, known asmultimorbidity. The new analysis, released today, reveals the progressive worsening of health associated withmultiple chronic conditions. People living with multimorbidity are more likely to experiencechronic pain, psychological distress, and restrictions or limitations in everyday activities. Theyalso have poorer self-assessed health and are less likely to work compared to people with noconditions or a single chronic condition. In response to the new analysis, the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance is calling onthe Government to increase investment in prevention, risk assessment and early detection ofchronic disease to reduce the enormous burden of these conditions across the population.Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said the effects ofmultiple chronic conditions are far-reaching and urgent action is required to help people reducetheir risk. “We know that people with chronic conditions experience a range of challenges associated withtheir condition, and these are exacerbated for people with two or more conditions,” said MsMcGowan. “Chronic diseases can be largely prevented or reduced through risk assessment andmanagement of risk, but there needs to be urgent Government commitment and investment toachieve this,” said Ms McGowan. Ms McGowan continued, “We welcome the $1.9 million in the 2021-22 budget for preventivehealth research and scoping activities, including a national health literacy strategy, to inform aNational Preventive Health Strategy, but this falls short of the investment needed to address thethe increasing burden of chronic disease and its enormous impact on the lives of Australians.”The new analysis demonstrated the interconnected web of chronic disease, including stronglinks between chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers.Ms McGowan highlighted that many chronic conditions do not occur in isolation, and there needsto be a more holistic approach to reduce chronic disease. Ms McGowan said, “Many chronic diseases share risk factors and interact to increase risk.Australians should be supported to understand and manage their risk to reduce complications,disease progression and the long-term effects of multiple chronic conditions.” The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance is calling on the Government to includeconcrete targets and actions for chronic disease prevention, risk assessment, and earlydetection in the national prevention and primary care strategies. Ms McGowan said, “The national prevention and primary care strategies are huge opportunitiesand a great step forward, but these strategies need to be backed by Government commitment toinvest in chronic disease and the long-term health of Australians.