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1307.6 - Tasmanian State and Regional Indicators, Jun 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/07/2009   
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Image: Health HEALTH


CAUSES OF DEATH


In 2006 the main causes of death in Tasmania included diseases of the circulatory system (1,303 registered deaths), particularly ischaemic heart disease (687 deaths), as well as malignant neoplasms (cancers), with 1,104 registered deaths. Diseases of the circulatory system accounted for over a third (33.3%) of all deaths in Tasmania in 2006, while malignant neoplasms accounted for a further 28.2%.

The standardised death rates for most causes of death have fallen in the last 10 years, with the exception of diabetes mellitus (up from 22.7 deaths per 100,000 to 27.7 deaths per 100,000), mental and behavioural disorders (up from 15.9 deaths per 100,000 population to 27.7 deaths per 100,000), transport accidents (up from 7.6 deaths per 100,000 population to 12.0 deaths per 100,000), and intentional self-harm (up from 11.2 deaths per 100,000 to 14.7 deaths per 100,000).


UNDERLYING CAUSE OF DEATH, Selected causes, standardised death rates, Tasmania, 2006

Graph: Underlying Cause of Death, Selected causes, standardised death rates, Tasmania, 2006


SELECTED LONG TERM CONDITIONS

In 2004–05, the most prevalent long term conditions suffered by Tasmanians were long sightedness (138,000), arthritis (96,600), short sightedness (90,700), and back pain/problems/disc disorders (75,400).

Almost two-thirds (64.0%) of Tasmanians aged 65 years and over suffered from long sightedness, over half (52.0%) suffered from arthritis, almost a third (31.7%) suffered from short sightedness and over a fifth (20.9%) suffered from back pain/disc disorders.

For Tasmanians aged 18–64 years, almost a third (31.4%) suffered from long sightedness, over a fifth suffered from arthritis (21.1%), short sightedness (23.0%), and back pain/disc disorders (20.7%).


SELECTED LONG TERM CONDITIONS, Tasmania, 2004–05

Graph: Selected Long Term Conditions, Tasmania, 2004-05


ACTION TAKEN FOR HEALTH

In 2004–05, 41.6% of Tasmanians reported that they had taken some form of action for their health in the two weeks prior to interview, with 24.1% reporting that they had consulted a General Practitioner (GP)/specialist, 12.1% reporting that they had consulted other health professionals, and 5.4% reporting that they had consulted a dentist.

Around 32,500 (6.9% of Tasmanians) reported that they had days away from work/study, with 57,800 (12.2% of Tasmanians) reporting that they had other days of reduced activity in the two weeks prior to interview.

Almost 10% more females (46.1% of all females) reported having taken some form of action for their health than males (36.9% of all males). Around 27.1% of Tasmanian females reported having consulted a GP/specialist in the two weeks prior to interview compared with 21.0% of males; 14.8% of females reported having consulted other health professionals compared with 9.5% of males; while the percentage of males and females who reported having consulted a dentist were similar, at 5.3% for females and 5.5% for males.


SELECTED ACTION TAKEN FOR HEALTH, TASMANIA, 2004–05

Graph: Selected action taken for health, Tasmania, 2004-05


HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOURS

The 2004–05 National Health Survey found that Tasmanians exhibit a number of health risk factors, relating to alcohol consumption, body mass index (BMI), exercise level, and smoking status.

The bulk of the Tasmanian adult population, aged 18 years and over, ate 4 serves or less of vegetables per day: 79.9% of 18–64 year olds, and 77.3% of those aged 65 years and over. Less than half (48.6%) of people aged 18–64 years reported that they ate 1 or less serves of fruit per day, while 36.1% of those aged 65 years and over indicated this to be the case.

Around 68.6% of people aged 18–64 years reported that they were sedentary or had low exercise levels, with 78.3% of those aged 65 years and over indicating this to be the case.

Around 48.3% of Tasmanians aged 18–64 years and 51.0% of those aged 65 years and over were assessed as being overweight.


HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOURS(a), 2004–05

Graph: Health risk behaviours(a), 2004-05


SMOKING

In 2004–05, 25.5% of Tasmanians aged 18 years and over reported that they were current smokers, with 94.7% of those indicating that they were daily smokers. A further 32.3% reported that they were ex-smokers, while 42.2% reported that they had never smoked.

Around 27.5% of Tasmanian males aged 18 years and over reported that they were current smokers while 23.5% of Tasmanian females aged 18 years and over indicated that they were current smokers.


SMOKING STATUS(a), 2004–05

Graph: Smoking status(a), 2004-05


ALCOHOL

The 2004–05 National Health Survey found that 51.1% of Tasmanians aged 18 years and over reported low risk alcohol consumption, i.e. 50 mLs or less average daily consumption of alcohol for males in the 7 days prior to interview and 25 mLs or less for females. A further 7.0% of Tasmanians reported risky alcohol consumption, i.e. more than 50 mLs, up to 75 mLs average daily consumption of alcohol for males and more than 25 mLs, up to 50 mLs for females. Around 4.4% of Tasmanians reported high risk alcohol consumption, i.e. more than 75 mLs average daily consumption of alcohol for males and more than 50 mLs for females.

Around 20.2% of Tasmanian males aged 18 years and over reported that they had last consumed alcohol in the period one week to less than 12 months prior to interview, with a further 7.6% males who reported that they had last consumed alcohol 12 months or longer prior to interview.

Around 29.0% of Tasmanian females aged 18 years and over reported that they had last consumed alcohol in the period one week to less than 12 months prior to interview, with a further 17.7% reporting that they had last consumed alcohol 12 months or longer prior to interview.


BODY MASS INDEX

Body Mass Index was calculated from self-reported height and weight information collected in the 2004–05 National Health Survey. The survey revealed that 37.8% of Tasmanian adult males were considered to be overweight, with a further 17.0% considered obese. The survey also revealed that 25.9% of Tasmanian adult females were considered to be overweight, with a further 17.2% considered obese.


EXERCISE LEVEL

In 2004–05, more than two thirds (70.4%) of Tasmanians aged 18 years and over reported their level of exercise to be sedentary or low; around 34.1% of adult Tasmanians reported their level of exercise as 'sedentary', a further 36.3% reported their level of exercise as 'low'. Another 24.2% indicated their exercise level as 'moderate' and around 5.4% reported their exercise level as 'high'.


DISABILITY STATUS

The 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers found that around 23.5% of Tasmanians reported some form of disability. Disability was defined as any limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months and restricts everyday activities. Examples ranged from hearing loss which requires the use of a hearing aid, to difficulty dressing due to arthritis, to advanced dementia requiring constant help and supervision. There was little difference in the percentage of males and females with a disability (around 23.2% and 23.8% respectively).

Approximately 18.9% of males and 21.6% of females in the 2003 survey reported having either a core activity limitation (includes communication, mobility and self care), and/or a schooling or employment limitation.


SELECTED HEALTH OCCUPATIONS

The 2006 Census of Population and Housing revealed that 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 another 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


PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE MEMBERSHIP

At June 2008, 42.9% of Tasmanians had private health insurance membership in Tasmania, compared with 44.7% for Australia.

In 1984 private health insurance membership in Tasmania was 236,000 persons (53.9%), while Australia's membership totalled 7,784,000 persons (50.0%). Private health insurance membership in Tasmania and Australia as a whole declined steadily from the late 1980s to 1999. The Private Health Insurance Incentives Scheme Subsidy was introduced in Australia in 1997 and was replaced by a 30% rebate on premiums in January 1999. Following the introduction of the rebate in 1999, private medical insurance membership in Tasmania rose by 10.0% at June of the following year (from 33.3% as at June 1999 to 43.3% as at June 2000). This compared to a 12.4% increase for Australia (from 30.6% as at June 1999 to 43.0% as at June 2000).


PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE MEMBERSHIP

Graph: Private Health Insurance Membership


SELECTED PRESCRIBED MEDICATION

The rates of Tasmanians taking medications covered in the general schedule under the Prescribed Benefits Scheme in 2006–07 were highest for cholesterol-lowering medications such as atorvastatin and simvastatin. The Tasmanian rate for taking atorvastatin (382 per 1,000 persons) was lower than the Australian rate (444 per 1,000 persons) while the Tasmanian rate for taking simvastatin (347 per 1,000 persons) was higher than the Australian rate (274 per 1,000 persons).

The rate of Tasmanians taking esomeprazole to reduce gastric acid production was 283 per 1,000 persons, which was higher than the Australian rate of 193 per 1,000 persons.


IMMUNISATION

To be fully vaccinated 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 2008, data from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register revealed that 91.0% of Tasmanian children aged 12 months to less than 15 months were fully vaccinated, compared with 91.2% for Australia. Rates for children aged 24 months to less than 27 months were higher (93.4% for Tasmania and 92.8% for Australia respectively), while rates for children aged 60 months to less than 63 months were lower (89.8% for Tasmania and 87.3% for Australia respectively).


MENTAL AND BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS

The 2004–05 National Health Survey found that over two-thirds (67.2%) of Tasmanians experienced low levels of psychological distress (240,500 persons), while 20.1% reported moderate levels of stress (71,900 persons). About 8.8% (31,500 persons) reported high levels of stress. Of those reporting high levels of stress, people aged 25-44 years accounted for 41.0%, followed by those aged 45-64 years (28.3%). Around 3.8% (13,700 persons) of Tasmanians reported a very high level of stress. Of those, people aged 45-64 years accounted for 43.8%, followed by those aged 25-44 years (34.3%).


ABS SOURCES

Australian Demographic Statistics (ABS cat. no. 3101.0)

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

Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4430.0)

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, 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 4364.0)

National Health Survey: Summary of Results; State Tables, 2004-05 (ABS cat. no. 4362.0)

Private Health Insurance Administration Council 2008, Membership Statistics

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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