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1307.6 - Tasmanian State and Regional Indicators, Sep 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/2009   
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Image: HealthHEALTH


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 73% of Tasmanians aged 18 years and over reported sedentary or low level exercise levels. In the population aged 65 years and over, sedentary or had low exercise levels was greater at 78%.

Around 64% of Tasmanians measured were found to be overweight or obese as determined by the body mass index (BMI) measure.

In 2007–08, 25% of Tasmanians aged 18 years and over reported that they were current smokers, while a further 30% reported that they were ex-smokers, and 45% reported that they had never smoked.

The 2007–08 NHS found that 48% of Tasmanians aged 18 years and over reported low risk alcohol consumption while a further 13% 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 adult population (79%) in 2007-08, aged 18 years and over, ate 4 serves or less of vegetables per day. At the same time 80% of the Tasmanian population aged 18–64 years and 75% of the Tasmanian population aged 65 years and over consumed 4 serves or less vegetables per day. Under half (44%) of people aged 18–64 years reported that they ate 1 or less serves of fruit per day, while 36% of those aged 65 years and over indicated this to be the case.


MENTAL AND BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS

The 2007–08 NHS found that 11% 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, or 70%) of Tasmanians experienced low levels of psychological distress, while 68,200 or 19% of the total of the Tasmanian population reported moderate levels of distress. About 11% (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%, followed by those aged 25-44 years (24%).


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 (54%) and arthritis (53%) while just under half of this age group reported suffering hypertensive disease (47%). In 2007-08 14% 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% 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% and 45% respectively).


SELECTED PRESCRIBED MEDICATION

The rates of Tasmanians taking medications covered in the general schedule under the Prescribed Benefits Scheme (PBS) in 2008–09 were highest for cholesterol-lowering medications such as atorvastatin and simvastatin. The Tasmanian rate for taking atorvastatin (414 per 1,000 persons) was lower than the Australian rate (477 per 1,000 persons) while the Tasmanian rate for taking simvastatin (291 per 1,000 persons) was higher than the Australian rate (222 per 1,000 persons). Overall the rates of Tasmanians taking PBS medications in 2008-09 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 2009, data from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register revealed that 90.3% of Tasmanian children aged 12 months to less than 15 months were fully vaccinated, compared with 91.3% for Australia. Rates for children aged 24 months to less than 27 months were higher (93.0% for Tasmania and 92.9% for Australia respectively), while rates for children aged 60 months to less than 63 months were lower (78.6% for Tasmania and 82.4% for Australia respectively).


CAUSES OF DEATH

In 2007 the main causes of death in Tasmania included diseases of the circulatory system (1,414 registered deaths), particularly ischaemic heart disease (679 deaths). The second main cause of death was malignant neoplasms (cancers), with 1,200 registered deaths. Diseases of the circulatory system accounted for over one third (34.2%) of all deaths in Tasmania in 2007, while malignant neoplasms accounted for a further 29.0%.

The standardised death rates for most causes of death have fallen between 1997 and 2007, with the largest decline for deaths caused by diseases of the circulatory system (down from 400.8 deaths per 100,000 to 228.9 deaths per 100,000). The standardised death rates for diabetes mellitus have increased over the same period (up from 22.7 deaths per 100,000 to 23.4 deaths per 100,000), as have deaths caused by mental and behavioural disorders (up from 15.9 deaths per 100,000 population to 27.5 deaths per 100,000).


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

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



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 the other 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, Tasmania, 2006



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 (Copyright, Commonwealth of Australia, 2009)

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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