4837.0.55.001 - Health of Mature Age Workers in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/07/2008  First Issue
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July 29, 2008
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEST)

Older workers are healthier, especially in capital cities: ABS

Older workers had lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and arthritis than their non working peers, according to a recent analysis of the 2004–05 National Health Survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The report found that mature age workers (between 45-74 years) were slightly healthier than their non-working counterparts, with 8 in 10 workers having a chronic health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or obesity, compared with 9 in 10 of the non-working population.

Cardiovascular disease and arthritis each affected around a quarter of all mature age workers compared with half of non-workers. However, similar proportions of workers and non-workers aged 45–74 years were overweight or obese (58% and 55% respectively).

On the other hand, 7% of mature age people reported that they had a condition (arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or mental problem) come about because of their work.

Work related conditions include a high proportion of disc disorders, (42%), back problems (41%) and hearing loss (32%).

Other findings include:
  • Mature age workers in capital cities (77%) were less likely to have a chronic condition than those outside of the capitals (83%).
  • Mature age workers living in disadvantaged areas have higher rates of nearly all chronic diseases (81%) compared with the most affluent areas (78%).
  • Tradespeople aged 45–74 years were more likely to have a chronic health condition (84%) than professionals (75%).
  • Even with a major health condition, 56% of mature age workers still assessed their health as very good or excellent, compared with 31% of those who were not working.

Further information is available in Health of Mature Age Workers in Australia: A Snapshot (cat. no. 4837.0.55.001), available for free download from the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>.