ABOUT THIS RELEASE
Health risk factors are any characteristic of a population that are associated with higher rates of illness or injury. They are responsible for a considerable amount of disease and disability among the Australian population (Mathers, Vos & Stevenson, 1999) as well as significant economic costs. However, many risk factors are modifiable suggesting that benefits in population health can be achieved following improvements to risk factor status.
This publication presents findings from the 2001 National Health survey in relation to several behavioural risk factors (smoking, physical activity, body mass, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption and alcohol consumption) as well as biomedical risk factors (high cholesterol and high blood pressure). The prevalence of each risk factor is analysed with respect to age, sex and other socio-demographic variables, such as labour force status and level of educational attainment. In addition, data demonstrating the associations between each risk factor and certain chronic diseases are presented.