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1307.6 - Tasmanian State and Regional Indicators, Dec 2010 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/02/2011  Final
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Image: HealthHEALTH


More detailed statistics about Tasmania are available in Excel format from the Downloads page.


HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOURS


The 2007–08 National Health Survey (NHS) found that Tasmanians continue to exhibit a number of health risk factors, relating to diet, alcohol consumption, body mass index (BMI), exercise level and smoking status.

In 2007-08 approximately 71.7% of Tasmanians aged 15 years and over reported sedentary or low exercise levels. In the population aged 65 years and over, the percentage of those who indicated that they were sedentary or had low exercise levels was greater at 77.7%.

Around 64.0% of Tasmanians aged 18 and over who were measured, were found to be overweight or obese as determined by the body mass index (BMI) measure.

In 2007–08, 23.9% of Tasmanians aged 15 years and over reported they were current smokers, while a further 28.5% reported they were ex-smokers, and 47.5% reported they had never smoked.

The 2007–08 NHS found that 47.1% of Tasmanians aged 15 years and over reported low risk alcohol consumption, while a further 12.6% of Tasmanians reported risky or high risk consumption (i.e. more than 50 mL average daily consumption of alcohol for males and more than 25 mL for females).

The bulk of the Tasmanian population (79.1%) aged 15 years and over ate 4 serves or less of vegetables per day. At the same time, 79.6% of the Tasmanian population aged 18–64 years and 75.3% aged 65 years and over consumed 4 serves or less of vegetables per day. Over half (54.1%) of people aged 18–64 years reported that they did not eat fruit or ate 1 or less serve of fruit per day, while 40.9% of those aged 65 years and over indicated this to be the case.


MENTAL AND BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS

The 2007–08 NHS found that 11.1% of the Tasmanian population reported having a long term mental or behavioural problem that was identified by a medical professional. To complement this information, the NHS also collected information on mental health from adults using the Kessler 10 scale (K10), a 10 item scale of psychological distress.

Over two-thirds (257,000 persons aged 18 years and over, or 70.3%) of Tasmanians experienced low levels of psychological distress, while 68,200 or 18.7% of the Tasmanian population aged 18 years and over reported moderate levels of distress. About 11.0% (40,300 persons) reported high/very high levels of psychological distress, levels that possibly indicate a need for professional help. Of those reporting high/very high levels of distress, people aged 45-64 years accounted for 44.4%, followed by those aged 25-44 years (24.3%).


SELECTED LONG TERM CONDITIONS

In 2007–08, the most prevalent of the selected long term conditions suffered by Tasmanians were long sightedness (124,100), short sightedness (110,000), and arthritis (96,500).

Over half of Tasmanians aged 65 years and over suffered from long sightedness (53.7%) and arthritis (53.1%) while just under half reported suffering hypertensive disease (46.5%). In 2007-08 14.3% of all Tasmanians aged 65 years and over reported suffering diabetes mellitus/high sugar levels in blood/urine.


SELECTED LONG TERM CONDITIONS, Tasmania, 2007–08

Graph: SELECTED LONG TERM CONDITIONS, Tasmania, 2007–08



DISABILITY STATUS

The 2007-08 NHS found that around 46.1% of Tasmanians aged 18 years and over reported some form of disability. A disability or restrictive long term health condition exists if a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder, has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more, and which restricts everyday activities. There was little difference in the percentage of males and females with a disability (around 47.2% and 45.0% respectively).


SELECTED PRESCRIBED MEDICATION

The rates of Tasmanians taking medications covered in the general schedule under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) in 2009–10 were highest for all cholesterol-lowering medications such as atorvastatin and simvastatin. The Tasmanian rate for taking atorvastatin (423.9 per 1,000 persons) was lower than the Australian rate (478.4 per 1,000 persons) while the Tasmanian rate for taking simvastatin (277.0 per 1,000 persons) was higher than the Australian rate (206.0 per 1,000 persons).

The next highest rates of prescription were for esomeprazole (used for reducing the production of gastric acid) at 463.2 per 1,000 persons and paracetamol (used as a pain reliever) at 300.3 per 1,000 persons. As paracetamol is available over the counter, without prescription, this rate understates actual community use.

Overall, the rates of Tasmanians taking PBS and RPBS medications in 2009-10 were higher than the rates of Australians taking those medications, reflecting Tasmania's older population.


IMMUNISATION

To be fully immunised means that children should have received the full schedule of vaccinations appropriate to their age, as determined by the National Immunisation Program. As at June 2010, data from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register revealed that 91.7% of Tasmanian children aged 12 months to less than 15 months were fully vaccinated, compared with 91.5% for Australia. Rates for children aged 24 months to less than 27 months were higher (92.8% for Tasmania and 92.4% for Australia respectively), while rates for children aged 60 months to less than 63 months were lower (90.6% for Tasmania and 89.6% for Australia respectively).


CAUSES OF DEATH

In 2008 the main causes of death in Tasmania were diseases of the circulatory system (1,400 registered deaths), particularly ischaemic heart disease (696 deaths). The second main cause of death was malignant neoplasms (cancers), with 1,216 registered deaths. Diseases of the circulatory system accounted for almost one third (33.2%) of all deaths in Tasmania in 2008, while malignant neoplasms accounted for a further 28.8%.

The standardised death rates for most causes of death have fallen between 2002 and 2008, with the largest decline being for diseases of the circulatory system (down from 283.5 deaths per 100,000 to 221.5 deaths per 100,000). The standardised death rates for mental and behavioural disorders have increased over the same period (up from 15.1 deaths per 100,000 to 32.8 deaths per 100,000).


UNDERLYING CAUSE OF DEATH
Selected causes, standardised death rates, Tasmania

Graph: UNDERLYING CAUSE OF DEATH



SELECTED HEALTH OCCUPATIONS

The 2006 Census of Population and Housing revealed there were 5,628 nurses in Tasmania, with 90.1% of them being female. The Greater Hobart and Southern Statistical Divisions (SDs) had 53.0% of the state's nursing population, while Northern SD had 29.0%, and Mersey-Lyell SD had 18.0%. To relate this to the distribution of the State's population, there were 12.7 nurses per thousand people in the Greater Hobart and Southern SDs, 12.2 in the Northern SD and 9.5 in Mersey-Lyell SD.

There were 845 general medical practitioners (GPs) in Tasmania. Some 57.5% of GPs in the state were located in the Greater Hobart and Southern SDs, while a further 27.2% of GPs were located in Northern SD, and 15.3% of GPs were located in Mersey-Lyell SD. This equated to a rate of 2.1 GPs per thousand people in the Greater Hobart and Southern SDs, 1.7 in the Northern SD and 1.2 in Mersey-Lyell.

Dental practitioners totalled 134 in Tasmania, with 59.7% located in the Greater Hobart and Southern SDs, 23.9% located in Northern SD, and a further 16.4% located in Mersey-Lyell SD. The rate per thousand was 0.3 in Greater Hobart and Southern SDs, 0.2 in the Northern SD and 0.2 in Mersey-Lyell.


HEALTH OCCUPATIONS BY REGION(a), Tasmania, 2006

GRAPH:HEALTH OCCUPATIONS BY REGION(a), Tasmania, 2006


More detailed statistics about Tasmania are available in Excel format from the Downloads page.


SOURCES

Australian Demographic Statistics (ABS cat. no. 3101.0)

Causes of Death, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3303.0)

Census of Population and Housing, ABS, 2006. Data available on request.

Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6285.0)

Medicare Australia, Australian Childhood Immunisation Register statistics, Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule Item Reports

National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2007-08 (ABS cat. no. 4364.0)

National Health Survey: Summary of Results; State Tables, 2007-08 (ABS cat. no. 4362.0)

Further information can also be found on the Health Statistics Theme Page and the Census Statistics Theme Page on the ABS website.


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