Our Research

What is Chronic Disease?

There are several definitions which describe Chronic Disease. Here are two from a National and International perspective:


The Australian Government Department of Health, 2015:

Chronic disease has been defined as illness that is prolonged in duration, does not often resolve spontaneously, and is rarely cured completely. Chronic diseases are complex and varied in terms of their nature, how they are caused and the extent of their impact on the community. While some chronic diseases make large contributions to premature death, others contribute more to disability. Features common to most chronic diseases include:

  • complex causality, with multiple factors leading to their onset
  • a long development period, for which may there may be no symptoms
  • a prolonged course of illness, perhaps leading to other health complications
  • associated functional impairment or disability.

World Health Organisation, 2015:

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The four main types of non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.


In 2010, chronic diseases were the leading causes of death in Australia, with the most common causes including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and diabetes (Australian Bureau of Statistics). They are caused by multiple factors including genetics, lifestyle and environment, and are expected to become more common as the population ages and risk factors increase. The World Health Organisation reports a similar trend worldwide: Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 60% of all deaths. (WHO, 2015)

Can chronic diseases be prevented?

In many cases chronic diseases can be prevented. In cases when chronic diseases are not preventable, the management and medical treatment work more favourably  in those persons who adopt healthy behaviours, such as controlling body weight, eating nutritious foods, avoiding tobacco use, and increasing physical activity.

Whilst most chronic diseases begin in adulthood, the risk factors that lead to their onset often begin in childhood, or even in the womb. At the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention (CCDP) we recognize the cumulative impact of our social and biological influences and focus our research on these interactions throughout the life span. 

Our research

At CCDP we have a multidisciplinary team that research and collaborate on a wide range of projects directly aimed at Chronic Disease prevention in some of the most rural and remote communities in Australia. Some of our researchers are chief investigators on these projects whilst others may be experts in subject areas that value add to existing projects. Please select one of the icons below to find out more about our key research areas.

Chronic Disease Prevention
Child and maternal health
Built Environments
Improved Models of Care
Health Economics


Funding Stream 1 – Department of Health Queensland – Office of Health and Medical Research (Senior Clinical Research Fellowship) – Amount $4.25 million 2012-2016  


  • Reducing disease progression at the Primary Health Care (PHC) level.
  • Reducing incidence of new disease.
  • Monitoring population level trends by community, Health and Hospital Services (HHS) and region.
  • Developing clinical and prevention research capacity.  

Funding Stream 2 - Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute -  Centre for Research Excellence: Prevention of chronic conditions in rural and remote high risk populations – Amount $1.1 million 2012-2015 


A place based program (South Australia and North Queensland) looking at:

  • Nutrition and physical activity opportunities and uptake,
  • Substance misuse and mental health,
  • Primary health care management of diabetes, renal disease, cardio – vascular disease , and mental health conditions , including quality use of medicines.


Want to know more about Chronic Diseases?

Here are some useful websites:

Chronic Diseases

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: http://www.aihw.gov.au/chronic-diseases

The Department of Health: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/chronic

World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/topics/noncommunicable_diseases/en

Cardiovascular Disease

The Heart Foundation: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au


Diabetes Australia: http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au


Obesity Australia: http://www.obesityaustralia.org

Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute: http://www.modi.monash.edu.au

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