(Australian Associated Press)
The risk of dying during middle age has dropped substantially and Australians in their twenties have an almost 90 per cent chance of surviving until the age of 70, according to a new study.
In light of the findings, researchers have called for more to be done to help Australians live disability-free lives in old age.
Researchers at Monash University analysed epidemiological data from the Human Mortality Database to predict the chance of a 20-year-old living to 70 for every decade between 1960 to 2010.
According to the analysis, the chance of young men and women living to this age was 54 per cent and 72 per cent respectively.
This rose to 82 per cent and 89 per cent respectively in 2010.
The study found the risk of dying during middle age dropped substantially, especially when it came to dying from cardiovascular diseases.
Looking at the 1960 mortality rates, 29 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women died of cardiovascular disease (CVD) before age 70, compared with five per cent of men and two per cent of women in 2010.
Cancer mortality also declined, by 21 per cent in men, 22 per cent in women.
While the declining mortality among middle-aged Australians is good news, the researchers say it has serious implications for an ageing population.
“In 2012, 53 per cent of the 3.3 million Australians aged 65 years or more had some form of disability, compared with 16 per cent of those aged 25-64 years.
“While the disability rate among older Australians has been relatively steady since 1981, projections based on 1998 prevalence rates predict that the absolute number of older people with profound disabilities will double between 2006 and 2031.”