No-one likes to think about their own mortality but those in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven may be forced to, with the death rates in these regions higher than state and national levels.
According to a new Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local (ISML) report, the Nowra-Bomaderry region has the highest death rates in the region, at 7.4 per 1000 population compared to the national average of 5.6.
That region also has an "extraordinarily high" death rate for motor vehicle injuries and for deaths due to suicide and self-inflicted injury.
"There is nearly double the number of avoidable road traffic deaths in the Shoalhaven than the state average," the report's lead author, Abhijeet Ghosh, said.
"These figures will give policy makers food for thought when it comes to looking at the need to improve road services in the Shoalhaven."
Mr Ghosh said while the Shoalhaven had been identified as an area of high need for services, the report revealed grave findings for Shellharbour too.
"The Shoalhaven is the socio-economically disadvantaged area of our catchment and it had the worst figures for most of the health indicators, but the data shows we need to focus on the Shellharbour region too," he said.
"The Shellharbour region had the highest ratios in the ISLM catchment for avoidable mortality overall as well as for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
"It had the worst figures for obesity in both genders, and while the Shoalhaven had the highest figures for mental and behavioural problems overall, Shellharbour had the highest estimated prevalence of mood problems in females."
Obesity was a problem that affected the entire region, with more than 57 per cent of people from Wollongong to Jervis Bay estimated to be either obese or overweight. That's almost 5 per cent higher than the state average.
Further, almost 36 per cent of the catchment population was found to engage in high-risk alcohol drinking behaviour and 12 per cent of the population reported having a higher range of psychological distress than the state average.
The report found the rates of hypertension, high cholesterol, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma for the Illawarra Shoalhaven were higher than state and Australian averages. Death rates for both lung and colon cancer were higher than the state average.