Forecasts of COPD mortality in Australia: 2006-2025

Bircan Erbas1, Shahid Ullah2, Rob J Hyndman3, Michelle Scollo4, Michael Abramson5

BMC Medical Research Methodology (2012) 12:17.

  1. School of Public Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, 3086Australia
  2. School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat,Mount Helen, Victoria, 3353,Australia
  3. Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, Monash University, Clayton, 3800, Australia
  4. VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, The Cancer Council Victoria,100 Drummond St, Carlton, Victoria, 3053
  5. School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University,Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, 3004,Australia.


Background: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is currently the fifth leading cause of death in Australia, and there are marked differences in mortality trends between men and women. In this study, we have sought to model and forecast age related changes in COPD mortality over time for men and women separately over the period 2006–2025.

Methods: Annual COPD death rates in Australia from 1922 to 2005 for age groups (50–54, 55–59, 60–64, 65–69, 70–74, 75–79, 80–84, 85+) were used. Functional time series models of age-specific COPD mortality rates for men and women were used, and forecasts of mortality rates were modelled separately for men and women.

Results: Functional time series models with four basis functions were fitted to each population separately. Twenty-year forecasts were computed, and indicated an overall decline. This decline may be slower for women than for men. By age, we expect similar rates of decline in men over time. In contrast, for women, forecasts for the age group 75–79 years suggest less of a decline over time compared to younger age groups.

Conclusions: By using a new method to predict age-specific trends in COPD mortality over time, this study provides important insights into at-risk age groups for men and women separately, which has implications for policy and program development.

Key words: COPD mortality, functional data analysis, tobacco consumption, forecasting


Online article