Being statistical about health – the numbers speak loudly

On Saturday I presented a workshop about taking control of our own health. The speaking coach I’ve been working with told me that I should always have a hook to begin a presentation – a question, an image, a story or statistics.

Everybody loves statistics. So that’s what I went with. And while I was looking for statistics about the state of Australian health, I didn’t think the reason so many of us are being diagnosed with chronic diseases would be so apparent. I didn’t expect it but the numbers speak loudly. They really do.

So today I’m going to share the numbers with you and you can draw your own conclusions. Those at the workshop were blown away.

But first,

The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison – Anne Wigmore

Here are the statistics I found:

This is the number of prescriptions made in Australia in 2014:

15.5 million prescriptions for statins to manage cholesterol and cardio vascular disease.

11.4 million prescriptions for drugs to manage gastric acid and gastro-intestinal conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

6.4 million paracetamol. Australia’s use of painkillers has quadrupled in the last decade, mostly to manage the pain associated with chronic illness.

3.9 million prescriptions for blood pressure medications.


Chronic diseases accounted for 90% of all deaths in 2011. These are the top five:

Heart disease (1/5 people have been diagnosed with cardiovascular and related diseases)

Dementia and Alzheimers (1 in 10 people over 65 suffer from dementia or alzheimers)

Cancers, predicted 1 in 2 men, 1 in 3 women by the age of 85

Chronic respiratory diseases


47% deaths in the 45 to 74 age group are avoidable. The top diseases are heart disease, colon cancer and respiratory disease.

1 in 19 people have been diagnosed with diabetes.

1 in 20 people are living with auto-immune diseases.

1 in 10 people live with chronic kidney disease.

1 in 5 people have multiple chronic diseases.

Close to ⅔ of Australians (63%) and 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk of all other chronic diseases.

So what did I find so obvious about the factors behind the these statistics? Why did I say that the numbers speak so loudly?

This is why:

Only 49% of Australian have the daily recommended servings of fruit.

Only 7% of Australians have the daily recommended servings of vegetables.

And only 5% of Australian have the daily recommended servings of both fruit and vegetables.


So what do you think might be the reason for such high numbers of chronic disease in Australia? Do you think the numbers speak for themselves?

Please take care of yourself. Please eat your plants. I wrote about why in my last blog post, Being Powered by Plants (or how to reverse chronic disease), HERE.

Please be happy. And please be well.

And so be it.

Jane x

***Chronic diseases are generally those diseases with risk factors that we can largely do something about, such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and the harmful use of alcohol.


Australia’s Health in 2014

Australia’s Health

Causes of Death, Australia, 2014

Chronic Diseases

1 in 5 Australians affected by multiple chronic diseases

Painkillers surge in Australia while most of the world misses out

About Jane Treleaven

Jane Treleaven is a meditation teacher and health coach empowering people to be happy and well through just being, essentially being.

Comments welcome