Burden of Disease and Injury in the Northern Territory, 1999-2003

Yuejen Zhao, Jiqiong You, Steven Guthridge

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


    The burden of disease and injury (BOD) methodology was developed to provide a
    global assessment of ill health in a population, by quantifying the collective
    contributions of both fatal and non-fatal outcomes. The method can also be used to
    compare the relative contribution of the various conditions, and to quantify the impact of
    major risk factors on health outcomes. The BOD method uses the composite measure
    of “disability adjusted life years” (DALY) to combine both fatal health outcomes (years
    of life lost, YLL) and non-fatal health outcomes (years lost due to disability, YLD). It is
    more comprehensive and accurate than the conventional epidemiological analysis of
    mortality for the assessment of population health needs. BOD studies have become a
    leading source of evidence to inform health policy and health service planning.
    This report is the second BOD study for the Northern Territory (NT), and applies the
    methodology used in the most recent Australian BOD study. The report provides a
    comprehensive assessment for 177 conditions over the period from 1999 to 2003. The
    report includes information on:
     the health care needs of Territorians by major disease and injury category and by
    demographic characteristics (age, sex and Aboriginality);
     comparisons with the national average, using age standardised DALY rates; and,
     the contribution of 17 risk factors for the common conditions. The risk factors
    include low socio-economic status, obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco and
    Over the five-year study period, NT residents lost a total of 174 593 DALYs. The
    burden of ill health was greater in males, with a male to female ratio of 1.36, which
    exceeded the population ratio of 1.11. The non-fatal burden of disease constituted the
    majority (57%) of ill health. The Aboriginal population was over-represented for both the
    non-fatal (57%) and fatal (50%) outcomes, compared with their proportion of the total
    NT population (29%). The crude DALY rate for the NT population as a whole was 34%
    higher than the national figures, even though the NT median age was 6 years younger
    than Australian median age. After adjustment for the age structure of the populations,
    the study highlights that the disease burden in the NT Aboriginal population for this
    period was 3.57 times the national average. The burden of the NT non-Aboriginal
    population was also greater, 1.22 times the national average. When combined, the
    age-adjusted burden of disease in the NT was 1.74 times the national average.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationNT, Australia
    PublisherDepartment of Health and Families, Northern Territory
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • burden of disease
    • Northern Territory (NT)
    • DALY
    • Aboriginal
    • HALE


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