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This article discusses arthritis and osteoporosis in Australia in 2007-08 and the health outcomes associated with these diseases. The article uses data from the 2007-08 National Health Survey (NHS) and earlier National Health Surveys, the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS 04-05), the 2009 Survey of Disability and Carers (SDAC 2009), and Causes of Death, Australia, 2009.
Age standardisation is a way of allowing comparisons between two or more populations with different age structures, in order to remove age as a factor when examining correlations between other variables. For example, the age distribution of people with diabetes is heavily skewed towards the higher age groups (that is, older people are more likely to have diabetes than younger people). When looking at the labour force status of people with and without diabetes, it can be seen that more people with diabetes are not in the labour force, however, this could be due to the fact that there are more older people with diabetes and less older people in the work force. Age standardising removes age from the picture so it can be seen whether there is a correlation between diabetes and labour force status independent of age. This is achieved by applying a single population structure to each of the populations being compared.
In this article, the Australian 2001 estimated resident population is used as the reference population.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
In this article, overweight and obesity are calculated using BMI, a simple index of weight for height that is commonly used in classifying people as overweight and obese. It is defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres (kg/m2). To produce a measure of the prevalence of underweight, normal weight, overweight or obesity in adults, BMI values are grouped according to the table below, which allows categories to be reported against both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and, in Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines.
Body Mass Index, Adult
Underweight: Less than 18.5
Normal range: 18.5 to less than 25.0
Overweight: 25.0 to less than 30.0
Obese: 30.0 and greater
A medical condition which has lasted, or the respondent expects to last, for 6 months or more. Arthritis and osteoporosis are assumed to be long-term conditions in the 2007-08 NHS.