European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 1299–1313 | Cite as

Burden and trend of diet-related non-communicable diseases in Australia and comparison with 34 OECD countries, 1990–2015: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

  • Yohannes Adama MelakuEmail author
  • Andre Renzaho
  • Tiffany K. Gill
  • Anne W. Taylor
  • Eleonora Dal Grande
  • Barbora de Courten
  • Estifanos Baye
  • David Gonzalez-Chica
  • Elina Hyppӧnen
  • Zumin Shi
  • Malcolm Riley
  • Robert Adams
  • Yohannes Kinfu
Original Contribution



Diet is a major determining factor for many non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs). However, evidence on diet-related NCD burden remains limited. We assessed the trends in diet-related NCDs in Australia from 1990 to 2015 and compared the results with other countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


We used data and methods from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015 study to estimate the NCD mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributable to 14 dietary risk factors in Australia and 34 OECD nations. Countries were further ranked from the lowest (first) to highest (35th) burden using an age-standardized population attributable fraction (PAF).


In 2015, the estimated number of deaths attributable to dietary risks was 29,414 deaths [95% uncertainty interval (UI) 24,697 − 34,058 or 19.7% of NCD deaths] and 443,385 DALYs (95% UI 377,680–511,388 or 9.5% of NCD DALYs) in Australia. Young (25–49 years) and middle-age (50–69 years) male adults had a higher PAF of diet-related NCD deaths and DALYs than their female counterparts. Diets low in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and whole grains, but high in sodium, were the major contributors to both NCD deaths and DALYs. Overall, 42.3% of cardiovascular deaths were attributable to dietary risk factors. The age-standardized PAF of diet-related NCD mortality and DALYs decreased over the study period by 28.2% (from 27.0% in 1990 to 19.4% in 2015) and 41.0% (from 14.3% in 1990 to 8.4% in 2015), respectively. In 2015, Australia ranked 12th of 35 examined countries in diet-related mortality. A small improvement of rank was recorded compared to the previous 25 years.


Despite a reduction in diet-related NCD burden over 25 years, dietary risks are still the major contributors to a high burden of NCDs in Australia. Interventions targeting NCDs should focus on dietary behaviours of individuals and population groups.


Dietary risk factors Non-communicable diseases Burden of disease Australia OECD countries 



We are grateful to The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation for availing the data. We appreciate Assistant Professor Ashkan Afshin for his guidance in the early stage of manuscript preparation. YAM is thankful for the support provided by the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. AR is supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT110100345). BdC is supported by National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (100864). EB is a recipient of the Monash Graduate and Monash International Postgraduate Scholarships.


No funding was received for this specific study. GBD 2015 was funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare they have no competing interests. The authors are solely responsible for the views expressed in this article, and they do not necessarily represent the views, decisions, or policies of their institutions.

Informed consent

Not applicable because the manuscript does not include details, images, or videos relating to individual participants.

Ethics and consent

Not applicable.

Supplementary material

394_2018_1656_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1362 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yohannes Adama Melaku
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andre Renzaho
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tiffany K. Gill
    • 1
  • Anne W. Taylor
    • 1
  • Eleonora Dal Grande
    • 1
  • Barbora de Courten
    • 5
  • Estifanos Baye
    • 5
  • David Gonzalez-Chica
    • 1
  • Elina Hyppӧnen
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  • Zumin Shi
    • 1
    • 9
  • Malcolm Riley
    • 10
  • Robert Adams
    • 11
  • Yohannes Kinfu
    • 12
    • 13
  1. 1.Adelaide Medical SchoolThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Human Nutrition, Institute of Public HealthThe University of GondarGondarEthiopia
  3. 3.School of Social Sciences and PsychologyWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  5. 5.Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  6. 6.Centre for Population Health Research, Sansom InstituteUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  7. 7.South Australian Health and Medical Research InstituteAdelaideAustralia
  8. 8.Population, Policy and PracticeUCL Institute of Child HealthLondonUK
  9. 9.Human Nutrition DepartmentCollege of Health Sciences, Qatar UniversityDohaQatar
  10. 10.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)AdelaideAustralia
  11. 11.Health Observatory, Discipline of Medicine, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital CampusThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  12. 12.Faculty of HealthUniversity of CanberraCanberraAustralia
  13. 13.School of DemographyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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