New Report: 2022 Australian Burden of Disease Study

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare identifies that ‘back pain’ was one of the top 5 specific diseases causing ‘burden’ in 2022. The other top 5 specific diseases included coronary heart disease, dementia, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and anxiety disorders.

*** The term ‘burden’ or ‘burden of disease’ measures the impact of living with illness and injuries and dying prematurely.
It combines the years of healthy life lost due to living with ill health (non-fatal) with the years of life lost due to dying prematurely (fatal).

Here are the key points about arthritis from the 2022 dataset:

  • For men and women, back pain and problems were the leading cause of ill health in Australia in 2022.
  • Osteoarthritis was one of the leading causes of ill health for women.
  • For people aged 25-44 years, musculoskeletal conditions along with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and injuries, were one of the top 4 leading causes of burden.
  • For people aged 45-64 years, musculoskeletal conditions and cardiovascular diseases caused the most burden, with back pain and problems being the leading specific cause of ill health in women for this age group.
  • For people aged 65 years and over, musculoskeletal conditions along with cardiovascular diseases and cancers were the leading causes of burden.
  • Between 2003 and 2022, the rate of total burden increased for osteoarthritis, back pain and problems.

This latest data is consistent with previous reports identifying arthritis as one of the leading causes of ill health in Australia from the age of 25 years and over.

To access the full report, visit

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