Introduction The rising prevalence of chronic diseases in Australia is a significant challenge to both healthcare systems and the population. While it is the older population that is, the primary focus of chronic disease prevention programs, other population groups are also significantly affected by these conditions and present a challenge to governments and healthcare professionals alike. Factors that influence the development of chronic disease have been comprehensively studied in the older population but other groups have received less focus.
Methods The North West Adelaide Health Study is a cohort study being conducted in the northwest suburbs of Adelaide, Australia. The initial sample was randomly selected and over 4050 participants attended a clinic assessment in Stage 1. Participants undertaking a clinic assessment in Stage 2 was n=3200 and Stage 3 approximately n=2500. Data have been collected using Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) surveys, self-completed questionnaires and biomedical measurements. The chronic conditions examined include asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and osteoporosis.
Results Univariate and multivariate analyses of specific population subgroups such as young people, carers and non-English speaking background demonstrate various associations between the presence of a chronic condition, socioeconomic factors and health service use as well as risk factors such as smoking status, depression and quality of life.
Conclusions Improvements in chronic disease management is becoming a greater imperative in today's society. Targeting of prevention and treatment can occur based on epidemiological analyses. Chronic disease does not discriminate and requires a societal wide perspective.
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