About preventive health in Australia

Looking after your body and mind by eating well, being active, getting vaccinated and avoiding risky behaviours – like smoking or drinking too much – can prevent many diseases and keep you healthy and well. We work to enable healthy living through supportive environments.

Health risk factors in Australia

Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare research has found that in Australia:

Risk factors like these all increase the risk of developing ill-health. Almost half of Australians have one or more chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

We can prevent many of these conditions from developing, or reduce their impact, by creating systems and environments that support people to live a healthy lifestyle.

What we’re doing about preventive health

We have developed the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021–2030.

The strategy will improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians at all stages of life, through a systems-based approach to prevention that addresses the wider determinants of health, reduces health inequities and decreases the overall burden of disease.

The strategy aims to ensure that:

  • all Australians have the best start in life
  • all Australians live in good health and wellbeing for as long as possible
  • health equity is achieved for priority populations
  • investment in preventive health is increased.

The strategy includes seven system enablers and seven focus areas. The enablers outline what is needed for a stronger a prevention system, and the focus areas highlight areas that require critical action to reduce risks of poor health and disease.

We consulted extensively while developing the strategy. Read the:

steering committee provided us with expert advice from across different health fields as we finalised the strategy.

The strategy is part of Australia’s Long Term National Health Plan and will guide our work over the next 10 years.

It builds on many other policies, guidelines and strategies that aim to prevent disease and improve health and wellbeing.

Health is currently developing a blueprint for action to guide the implementation of the strategy over the coming years.

Population health strategies

We have developed tailored strategies to guide us over the long term as we work to improve the health and wellbeing of:

The strategies outline our national approach to:

  • improving the health of men and boys and women and girls – particularly those at greatest risk of poor health
  • reducing inequities between different population groups.

We developed these strategies to build on:

We are also working to improve the health of children and young people, with the National Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People 2020–2030.

This plan aims to ensure that children and young people, can fulfil their potential, and are healthy safe and thriving, regardless of background or circumstances.

Supporting preventive health

We help Australians stay healthy through:

We also fund research and screening programs:

Injury prevention

Injury is a major cause of preventable death and disability in Australia. We are working to reduce the frequency of injury across all age groups.

National Injury Prevention Strategy

The 10-year National Injury Prevention Strategy 2020–2030 helps governments and non-government organisations embed safe practices in programs and policies.

This increases safety in our environment, the products we use and our communities to reduce injury. 

Water safety 

We fund water safety initiatives to reduce water-related accidents and deaths, including the National Recreation Safety Program, which provides funding to:  

We are also observers at the Australian Water Safety Council, which provides a collective voice for Australia’s leading water safety organisations.  

Snow safety 

We support the Australian Ski Patrol Association (ASPA) to improve safety in Australia's alpine areas. This enables everyone to safely enjoy alpine activities. 

Who we work with

We work with many partners on preventive health measures.

We fund agencies, universities and research bodies to carry out studies, surveys, reporting and analysis. The studies’ insights are essential in helping us:

  • plan and develop policy
  • make decisions about preventive health
  • reduce and prevent chronic disease
  • help you manage your health.

We work closely with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to publish datasets about health in Australia.

We were also a member of the Social, Health and Welfare Unit of the Data Integration Partnership for Australia, which built and expanded critical data assets.

Last updated: 
14 December 2021

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