Social, economic and environmental factors play a key role in the health of all Australians. As the Australian population ages, there is an urgent need to understand how people can remain healthy and independent for as long as possible.
This research examined the ways in which social, economic and environmental factors contributed to the health of Australians in mid to later life. It helped to identify ways in which policy and preventive programs can contribute to improving health in mid to later life particularly among disadvantaged Australians.
Project Design and Method
We explored in detail social, economic and environmental factors in 100,000 people aged 45 and over; this was the largest study of its kind ever undertaken in Australia. We examined the relationship between these social, economic factors, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical activity, environmental and obesity. We looked at how these factors contributed to health and health service use. Because of the large numbers of people participating in the study, we investigated for the first time, the ways in which these factors affect each other and their importance in different subgroups in the population such as people living in remote parts of Australia, Aboriginal people and people with low incomes. This enabled us to identify where programs and policies should be directed to most rapidly improve the health of disadvantaged Australians.
Mark Harris Phone: 02 9385 8402
SAX Institute, USyd and others
NHMRC socioeconomic program grant