Chapter 1

Introduction

Agnes E.G. Walker

Abstract

With ageing populations, increasing life expectancies and more sedentary lifestyles, today non-communicable chronic diseases are major disabling conditions for people in both developed and developing countries. In Australia chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental disorders and arthritis, affect around 80% of older persons; are the main causes of disability and premature death; and account for around 70% of total health expenditures. Health expenditures associated with ageing and chronic disease continue to be of concern worldwide to both patients and governments.

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