Burden and trend of diet-related non-communicable diseases in Australia and comparison with 34 OECD countries, 1990–2015: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

Yohannes Adama Melaku, Andre Renzaho, Tiffany Gill, Anne W. Taylor, Eleonora Dal Grande, Barbora de Courten, Estifanos Baye, David Gonzalez-Chica, Elina Hypponen, Zumin Shi, Malcolm Riley, Robert Adams, Yohannes Kinfu

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Background: Diet is a major determining factor for many non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs). However, evidence on diet-related NCD burden remains limited. We assessed the trends in diet-related NCDs in Australia from 1990 to 2015 and compared the results with other countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Methods: We used data and methods from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015 study to estimate the NCD mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributable to 14 dietary risk factors in Australia and 34 OECD nations. Countries were further ranked from the lowest (first) to highest (35th) burden using an age-standardized population attributable fraction (PAF). Results: In 2015, the estimated number of deaths attributable to dietary risks was 29,414 deaths [95% uncertainty interval (UI) 24,697 − 34,058 or 19.7% of NCD deaths] and 443,385 DALYs (95% UI 377,680–511,388 or 9.5% of NCD DALYs) in Australia. Young (25–49 years) and middle-age (50–69 years) male adults had a higher PAF of diet-related NCD deaths and DALYs than their female counterparts. Diets low in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and whole grains, but high in sodium, were the major contributors to both NCD deaths and DALYs. Overall, 42.3% of cardiovascular deaths were attributable to dietary risk factors. The age-standardized PAF of diet-related NCD mortality and DALYs decreased over the study period by 28.2% (from 27.0% in 1990 to 19.4% in 2015) and 41.0% (from 14.3% in 1990 to 8.4% in 2015), respectively. In 2015, Australia ranked 12th of 35 examined countries in diet-related mortality. A small improvement of rank was recorded compared to the previous 25 years. Conclusions: Despite a reduction in diet-related NCD burden over 25 years, dietary risks are still the major contributors to a high burden of NCDs in Australia. Interventions targeting NCDs should focus on dietary behaviours of individuals and population groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1299-1313
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Apr 2019


  • Australia
  • Burden of disease
  • Dietary risk factors
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • OECD countries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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