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4834.0.55.001 - Changes in health: A snapshot, 2004-05  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/12/2006  First Issue
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NOTES


INTRODUCTION

This article summarises some key changes in health and related characteristics of the Australian population over the ten years 1995 to 2004-05, as measured by the National Health Survey (NHS). Changes in the prevalence of selected long-term medical conditions, health-related lifestyle behaviours and changes in use of selected health services are discussed for broad age groups and by sex.


DATA SOURCES

The article uses selected health indicators from the 1995, 2001 and 2004-05 National Health Surveys conducted by the ABS. Only those indicators which were collected in all or most of these surveys are included.

Direct comparability of data between surveys for some indicators may be affected by changes in the content of the NHSs over this period, and in survey methodologies, data definitions and classifications (footnote 1). In general, the indicators selected for inclusion in this article are those where data are considered sufficiently comparable to indicate the broad trends in health. Major breaks in comparability are noted where applicable.

Data are age standardised or presented by age to take account of changes in the age structure of the population over time (footnote 2). Changes in age standardised rates between 1995 and 2004-05 are expressed as rate ratios (footnote 3).

More detailed information about most of the topics covered in this article has been separately published in a series of snapshot articles which are available from the ABS website via the ABS health theme page. Papers on the comparability of NHS data over time for long-term medical conditions and health risk behaviours are also available; See List of References for further details.


INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or email <client.services@abs.gov.au>.


CHANGES IN HEALTH OVER TIME

Health information is fundamental to developing effective health policies and programs, to ensuring quality provision of services, to coordinating treatment and care and to empowering consumers (AIHW 2006).

The NHS provides regular national benchmarks on a wide range of health issues and enables changes in health to be monitored over time.

NHSs have been conducted in 1989-90, 1995, 2001 and 2004-05, and prior to this similar surveys known as Australian Health Surveys were conducted by the ABS in 1977-78 and 1983. This publication uses selected indicators from the last three NHSs to illustrate recent trends in health over the ten year period 1995 to 2004-05.


SELF ASSESSED HEALTH STATUS

  • An individual's rating of their own health is often used as one of the indicators of health status and is sometimes used as a predictor of health care use and mortality (AIHW 2006).
  • The majority of Australians aged 15 years and over consider themselves to be in very good or excellent health. There has been little variation in the proportion of people reporting against each category of self-assessed health status over the period 1995 to 2004-05.

Table 1: Self assessed health status 1995, 2001, 2004-05

1995
%(a)
2001
%(a)
2004-05
%(a)
Rate ratio
1995 to 2004-05

Excellent/ very good
54.3
51.5
56.4
1.0
Good
28.5
30.3
27.8
1.0(b)
Fair/poor
17.2
18.2
15.8
0.9
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
na

Source: National Health Survey, 1995, 2001, 2004-05
(a) Age standardised. (b) Difference between 2004-05 and 1995 is not statistically significant (footnote 4).


LONG-TERM CONDITIONS
  • The proportion of people with one or more long-term medical condition (footnote 5) rises sharply with age, so that almost all persons aged 65 years and over reported at least one condition in 2004-05. The proportion with a long-term condition has remained steady over the period, (76% in both 1995 and 2004-05) (after adjusting for age differences).
  • Long and short sightedness were the long-term conditions most commonly reported in the 1995, 2001 and 2004-05 NHSs, followed by hayfever and arthritis.
  • For National Health Priority Areas, the survey results show the proportions of the population reporting arthritis, asthma and hypertension (high blood pressure) have remained steady over the period 1995 to 2004-05, while the proportions reporting diabetes mellitus and osteoporosis have increased. Reported mental and behavioural problems increased between 1995 and 2001 but were steady between 2001 and 2004-05. These conditions are discussed below.
  • High cholesterol and hayfever also increased between 1995 and 2004-05 (rate ratios of 1.3 and 1.2 respectively).

Chart 1: Selected long term conditions 1995, 2001, 2004-05
Graph: Chart 1: Selected long term conditions 1995, 2001, 2004-05


Table 2: Selected long-term conditions, 1995, 2001, 2004-05


1995 (a)(b)
%
2001 (a)
%
2004-05 (a)
%
Rate ratio
1995 to 2004-05

Arthritis
15.6 (c)
13.9 (c)
14.9
1.0
Asthma
10.9 (c)
11.6
10.2
0.9
Back pain/problems, disc disorders
(d)
(d)
15.1
-
Deafness complete/partial
10.1
10.8
10.1
1.0(e)
Diabetes mellitus
2.4
3.0
3.5
1.5
Hayfever
13.6
15.5
16.1
1.2
Heart, stroke and vascular diseases
(d)
4.3
3.8
-
High cholesterol
5.2
6.1
6.6
1.3
Hypertension
10.9 (c)
10.3
10.4
1.0
Long sightedness
22.0
22.4
26.3
1.2
Malignant neoplasms (cancers)
1.9 (f)
1.4
1.7
0.9
Mental and behavioural problems
4.1
9.6
10.7
2.6
Osteoporosis
1.5
1.6
2.9
1.9
Short sightedness
20.9
20.9
21.8
1.0
Sinusitis
10.1
10.7
9.2
0.9

Source: National Health Survey, 1995, 2001, 2004-05
(a) Age standardised. (b) Results for age-standardised prevalence of long-term conditions from the 1995 NHS presented in this article have been revised and are slightly different from those published previously in National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004–05 (cat. no. 4364.0). (c) Data are considered broadly comparable with data from later surveys, but there have been some changes to survey methodology. (d) Although data are available from the 1995 and/or 2001 surveys they are not considered directly comparable with 2004-05 data. (e) Difference between 2004-05 and 1995 is not statistically significant. (f) Includes non-malignant neoplasms.


Arthritis
  • Musculoskeletal conditions are defined as conditions of the bones, muscles and their attachments, and include joint problems such as arthritis. Although there are more than one hundred musculoskeletal conditions the most common are arthritis (including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), osteoporosis and back pain (AIHW 2004).
  • Arthritis was the most prevalent long-term musculoskeletal condition in 2004-05. Half (50%) of those reporting a musculoskeletal condition reported arthritis. The type of arthritis most commonly reported in the 2004-05 NHS was osteoarthritis (51% of those reporting arthritis).
  • The proportion reporting arthritis has remained steady overall between 1995 and 2004-05 (after adjusting for age differences), and there has been little change in the reported prevalence of arthritis in different age groups (footnote 6).
Chart 2: Persons with arthritis
Graph: Chart 2: Persons with arthritis



Asthma
  • There has been little change between 1995 and 2004-05 in the proportion of the population reporting asthma (rate ratio of 0.9).
  • It should be noted that the NHS data reflects the views of survey respondents as to whether or not their asthma is current, and therefore the data may differ from other sources which use different criteria to establish the prevalence of the condition.
  • Although the overall level of asthma in the population has changed little, the reported prevalence of asthma in children has decreased, from 16% of children aged less than 15 years in 1995 to 12% in 2004-05, with a small rise in prevalence in older age groups.

Chart 3: Persons with asthma
Graph: Chart 3: Persons with asthma



Diabetes
  • The proportion of the population reporting diabetes mellitus has increased between 1995 and 2004-05 (rate ratio of 1.5) (after adjusting for age differences). Most (83%) people reporting diabetes in the 2004-05 NHS reported that they had Type 2 diabetes.
  • Estimates for diabetes from the NHS may understate the true prevalence of the condition in the community as they exclude those cases which have remained undetected (footnote 7) .
  • The prevalence of diabetes has increased in all age groups above 44 years, and was highest in the 65-74 year age group (14%). The number of people aged 65 years or more reporting Type 2 diabetes has more than trebled between 1995 to 2004-05. As a result, the proportion aged 65 years and over reporting diabetes increased from 9% in 1995 to 14% in 2004-05.

Chart 4: Persons with diabetes
Graph: Chart 4: Persons with diabetes



High blood pressure and other circulatory conditions
  • Diseases of the circulatory system include all diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure, ischaemic and other heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke) and diseases of the veins and arteries.
  • In 2004-05 high blood pressure (hypertension) was the most commonly reported disease of the circulatory system. An estimated 59% of those reporting a disease of the circulatory system reported high blood pressure (footnote 8).
  • The proportion reporting high blood pressure has remained steady over the period 1995 to 2004-05 (rate ratio of 1.0) and there has also been little change in reported levels across age groups.
  • When all other diseases of the circulatory system (comprising ischaemic heart disease, stroke and other heart and vascular disorders) are considered as a group, there has been a decrease in the reported prevalence of these conditions between 1995 and 2004-05 across all but the 75 years and over age group.

Chart 5: Persons with hypertension or other circulatory conditions
Chart 5: Persons with hypertension
Chart 5: Persons with other circulatory conditions
Source: National Health Survey 1995 and 2004-05


Mental and behavioural problems
  • The proportion reporting long-term mental and behavioural problems more than doubled between 1995 and 2001 (rate ratio of 2.4) (after adjusting for age differences) but has remained steady between 2001 and 2004-05 (rate ratio of 1.1). The overall increase between 1995 and 2004-05 should be interpreted with care, as it may in part be due to a greater knowledge of and willingness by respondents to report mental problems in the surveys.
  • The most commonly reported mental and behavioural problems reported in 2004-05 were mood (affective) problems including depression (reported by 46% of those reporting a mental problem) and anxiety related problems (44%) (after adjusting for age differences).
  • Increases in the reported prevalence of mental problems between 1995 and 2004-05 were highest in the 35-44 (5% to 14%) and 45-54 (4% to 13%) year age groups. Rates were higher among females than males.

Chart 6: Persons reporting mental and behavioural problems
Chart 6: Persons reporting mental and behavioural problems, males
Chart 6: Persons reporting mental and behavioural problems, females
Source: National Health Survey 1995 and 2004-05

  • In 2004-05 13% of adults were classified to a high/very high level of psychological distress (footnote 9). This was similar to the proportion recorded in 2001.


HEALTH RISK FACTORS
  • Compared with results of the 1995 NHS, the 2004-05 survey showed that more adults are drinking alcohol at risky or high risk levels (rate ratio of 1.6), and more are overweight or obese (rate ratio of 1.2) (after adjusting for age differences).
  • In contrast, the proportion of adults reporting that they smoked decreased slightly (rate ratio of 0.9) and there was little change in the proportion reporting they did no exercise or had exercised at a very low exercise level (rate ratio of 1.0).
  • While the proportions of adult males who smoked, drank alcohol at risky or high risk levels, or who were classified as overweight or obese (as measured by their body mass index (BMI) derived from reported height and weight (footnote 10) are higher than females, the overall rates of change between 1995 and 2004-05 for smoking and overweight/obesity were similar for both sexes. The rate of increase in the proportion of females who consumed alcohol at risky or high risk levels was higher for females than males (rate ratio of 1.9 compared to 1.5).

Table 3: Health risk factors (a) 1995, 2001, 2004-05


% Males (b)
% Females (b)
% Persons(b)
1995(c)
2001
2004-05
Rate ratio
1995 to
2004-05
1995(c)
2001
2004-05
Rate ratio
1995 to
2004-05
Rate ratio
1995 to
2004-05

Current smokers
28.4
27.2
26.2
0.9
21.8
21.2
20.4
0.9(d)
0.9(d)
Risky/high alcohol risk
10.3
13.1
15.2
1.5
6.1
8.5
11.7
1.9
1.6
Overweight/ obese BMI
48.8
54.3
58.3
1.2
32.4
38.1
39.9
1.2
1.2
Physically inactive (e)
35.0
30.9
33.6
1.0(d)
35.4
32.2
34.4
1.0(d)
1.0(d)

Source: National Health Survey, 1995, 2001, 2004-05
(a) Persons aged 18 years and over. (b) Age standardised (c) Results for age-standardised level of smoking from the 1995 NHS presented in this article have been revised and are slightly different from those published previously in National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004–05 (cat. no. 4364.0). (d) Difference between 2004-05 and 1995 is not statistically significant. (e) Sedentary exercise level.


Smoking
  • The proportion of both men and women who were current smokers (footnote 11) fell between 1995 and 2004-05 (rate ratio of 0.9) (after adjusting for age differences).
  • In 2004-05, 92% of current smokers reported that they smoked daily.
  • Fewer young women reported smoking in 2004-05 than in 1995. The proportion of women aged 18 to 24 years who smoked was five percentage points lower in 2004-05 than in 1995 (26% compared to 31%). Almost two thirds (64%) of women aged 18-24 and 53% aged 25-34 reported having never smoked, up from 57% and 48% respectively in 1995.
  • The proportion of men aged 18-24 years who reported smoking fell one percentage point between 1995 and 2004-05 (35% to 34%), while the proportions of males who reported having never smoked was higher across all age groups in 2004-05 than in 1995, except the 75 and over age group.
  • Compared to 1995, smoking was more likely to be reported in 2004-05 by females in the 35-44 and 45-54 year age groups. In all other age groups for women, and across all age groups for men, the proportions who were current smokers were similar or lower in 2004-05 than in 1995.

Chart 7: Current smokers
Chart 7: Current smokers, males
Chart 7: Current smokers, females
Source: National Health Survey 1995 and 2004-05


Alcohol
  • The NHS collects information about the types and quantities of alcohol recently consumed. Caution should be used in interpreting these data as the collection of accurate data in recall situations about the quantity of alcohol consumed is difficult.
  • The proportion of men and women drinking at risky/high risk levels (footnote 12) increased between 1995 and 2004-05 (rate ratios of 1.5 and 1.9 respectively).
  • The proportion of men and women who drank any alcohol in the last week increased between 1995 and 2004-05 in all age groups, with the largest increase in the 55-64 year group (from 62% to 73% for males and 40% to 57% for females).
  • Increases between 1995 and 2004-05 in the proportions of men and women drinking at risky/high risk levels were recorded across all age groups. For men the largest increase was in the 55-64 year age group (from 9% to 18%). For women the largest increases were recorded in age groups from 35-44 years through to 55-64 years (from 6-7% to 13%).

Chart 8: Risky/high risk drinkers
Chart 8: Risky/high risk drinkers, males
Chart 8: Risky/high risk drinkers, females
Source: National Health Survey 1995 and 2004-05


Overweight/obesity
  • The proportions of men and women whose reported BMI classified them as overweight or obese increased between 1995 and 2004-05 (rate ratio of 1.2) (after adjusting for age differences).
  • For both men and women, the increase between 1995 and 2004-05 in the proportion overweight/obese is apparent across all age groups, but the largest increase was in the 35-44 years age group for men (from 52% to 65%), and 25-34 and 65-74 year groups for women (from 26% to 35% and from 40% to 50% respectively).

Chart 9: Overweight or obese adults
Chart 9: Overweight or obese adults, males
Chart 9: Overweight or obese adults , females
Source: National Health Survey 1995 and 2004-05

  • The increase between 1995 and 2004-05 in the proportion of men classified as overweight or obese has been higher in the obese group than the overweight group. Men classified as obese increased from 11% to 18% (with the largest increase of 10% in the 35-44 year age group) compared with an increase from 38% to 41% in men classified as overweight. Over this period the proportion of women classified as obese increased from 11% to 15%, and those classified as overweight increased from 21% to 25%.
  • Data were also collected in the surveys showing the body mass index of children aged 15-17 years. These data showed that in 2004-05, 15% of boys and 11% of girls aged 15-17 years were categorised as overweight or obese. As the data were obtained from a parent or other adult for the majority of children in this age group, these data should be interpreted with care (footnote 13).


Physical inactivity
  • Based on reported details of exercise undertaken for recreation, sport or fitness the proportion of adults classified as physically inactive (i.e. very little or no exercise) (footnote 14) decreased between 1995 and 2001 (rate ratio 0.9) but increased between 2001 and 2004-05 (rate ratio of 1.1) so that overall the levels recorded in 2004-05 are similar to those in 1995.
  • While the overall proportions of adults classified as physically inactive were similar between 1995 and 2004-05 there has been a decrease in the proportion of both men and women classified as physically inactive in all but the youngest (18-24 years) and oldest (75 years and over) age groups.

Chart 10: Adults who were physically inactive
Graph: Chart 10: Adults who were physically inactive, males
Graph: Chart 10: Adults who were physically inactive, females
Source: National Health Survey 1995 and 2004-05

  • Data were also collected in the surveys showing the exercise level of children aged 15-17 years. These data showed that in 2004-05, 19% of boys and 30% of girls aged 15-17 years were reported as doing very little or no exercise. As the data were obtained from a parent or other adult for the majority of children in this age group, these data should be interpreted with care (footnote 13).


HEALTH RELATED ACTIONS
  • Over the period 1995 to 2004-05, the proportion of persons reporting visiting a doctor in the two weeks prior to interview has remained steady (rate ratio of 1.0).
  • In contrast, the proportion consulting a health professional other than a doctor or dentist (footnote 15) increased between 1995 and 2001 (rate ratio of 1.3). Changes to survey methodology from 1995 to 2001 may have contributed to this increase. The proportion of the population consulting a health professional other than a doctor or dentist has remained steady between 2001 and 2004-05 (rate ratio of 1.0).

Table 4: Health related actions 1995, 2001, 2004-05

1995
%(a)
2001
%(a)
2004-05
%(a)
Rate ratio
1995 to 2004-05

Admission to hospital (b)
na
12.3
14.8
-
Visited casualty/ outpatients/day clinic
4.3
5.2
5.3
1.2
Consulted doctor
23.5
24.5
22.8
1.0
Consulted dentist
5.6
6.1
5.9
1.0(c)
Consulted other health professional
9.9
13.1
13.5
1.3

Source: National Health Survey, 1995, 2001, 2004-05
(a) Age standardised. (b) Persons who were admitted to hospital at least once in the 12 months prior to interview. (c) Difference between 2004-05 and 1995 is not statistically significant.

  • The proportion of children consulting doctors was lower in 2004-05 than in 1995, but more people in older age groups reported a recent doctor consultation. In 2004-05 proportionally more people in all age groups reported consulting a health professional (other than a doctor or dentist) than they did in 1995, with the biggest increases in the 75 years and over (from 13% to 20%) and 45-64 years (from 10% to 15%) age groups.

Chart 11: Persons who consulted a doctor or other health professional (a)
Graph: Chart 11: Persons who consulted a doctor (a)
Graph: Chart 11: Persons who consulted an other health professional (a)
(a) Persons consulting in the two weeks prior to interview.
Source: National Health Survey 1995 and 2004-05


FOOTNOTES

1. While results from the 1995, 2001 and 2004-05 NHSs are considered generally comparable for common items, there are differences in survey design, methodology and classifications which may affect comparability between surveys, and therefore how apparent changes over time can be interpreted. In addition, because NHS data are self-reported, results may be subject to changes in population awareness and attitudes which may impact on respondents' likelihood of reporting certain health characteristics. For further information see National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001). Back

2. Since many health characteristics are age-related, the age profile of the populations being compared needs to be considered when interpreting the data. To account for the differences in age structure the estimates within the main body of this article are shown as age standardised percentages, using the Australian estimated resident population at June 30 2001 as the standard population. For further detail, see the Explanatory Notes of the National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4364.0).

The age standardised percentages shown in this article should be used for comparison purposes only as they do not represent real population parameters. Survey estimates for the characteristics in this article, and which have not been age standardised, are shown in the table below.

Summary table - Selected health characteristics, 1995, 2001, 2004-05

1995
'000
2001
'000
2004-05
'000

Self-assessed health status (a)
Excellent/ very good
7,799.7
7,737.6
8,864.4
Good
4,035.9
4,526.2
4,384.0
Fair/poor
2,352.7
2,705.1
2,512.6
Selected long-term conditions
Arthritis
2,633.3
2,576.9
3,020.1
Asthma
2,002.6
2,197.3
2,013.5
Deafness complete/partial
1,718.5
2,012.8
2,014.3
Diabetes mellitus
403.9
554.2
699.6
Hayfever
2,469.8
2,935.3
3,165.7
Heart, stroke and vascular diseases
na
782.2
754.7
High cholesterol
881.8
1,131.6
1,339.7
Hypertension
1,839.2
1,909.1
2,100.7
Long sightedness
3,754.1
4,209.7
5,334.1
Malignant neoplasms (cancers)
321.1(c)
261.3
337.8
Mental and behavioural problems
723.3
1,812.6
2,109.5
Osteoporosis
247.7
299.8
585.8
Short sightedness
3,668.6
3,941.2
4,353.0
Sinusitis
1,799.4
2,020.0
1,815.5
Selected risk behaviours
Current smokers (c)
3,423.3
3,449.2
3,462.7
Risky/high alcohol risk (c)
1,108.5
1,536.9
2,020.9
Overweight/ obese (c)
5,363.0
6,551.7
7,366.0
Physically inactive (c)(d)
4,660.3
4,468.2
5,094.5
Actions taken in the previous 2 weeks
Admission to hospital (e )
na
2,304.1
2,913.3
Visited casualty/ outpatients/day clinic
712.0
1,000.6
932.4
Consulted doctor
4,206.6
4,631.2
4,487.6
Consulted dentist
1,006.1
1,155.4
1,158.9
Consulted other heath professional
1,792.6
2,482.7
2,648.5
Days away from work/study
1,358.8
1,568.6
1,531.8
Populations (f)
Persons aged 15 years and over
14,188.4
14,968.9
15,760.9
Persons aged 18 years and over
13,389.9
14,184.7
14,963.1
All persons
18,061.1
18,916.3
19,681.5

Source: National Health Survey 1995, 2001, 2004-05
(a) Age 15 years and over. (b) Includes non-malignant neoplasms. (c) Age 18 years and over (d) Sedentary exercise level. (e) Persons who were admitted to hospital at least once in the 12 months prior to interview. (f) These populations are included to enable the calculation of proportions within each survey. For comparisons between years it is recommended the age standardised proportions presented elsewhere in this article be used. Back

3. 1995 to 2004-05 rate ratios are calculated by dividing the proportion of the 2004-05 population with a particular characteristic by the proportion of the 1995 population with the same characteristic. A rate ration of 1.0 indicates that the rate of the characteristic is similar in both years. Rate ratios of greater than 1.0 indicate a higher rate in 2004-05 while a ratio of less than 1.0 indicates a lower prevalence in 2004-05. Rate ratios shown in this article are based on proportions to one decimal place. Back

4. Changes in results between the 2004-05, and 1995 surveys have been subject to testing to determine whether these changes are statistically significant. That is, to determine whether the differences observed in sample estimates over time indicate real differences in the population. In tables in this article, cells which have not changed significantly over time are indicated. Back

5. A long term medical condition is a medical condition (illness, injury or disability) which the survey respondent has reported as lasting for six months or more, or which the respondent expects to last for six months or more. Back

6. Survey results relating to arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions should be interpreted with care. As for any self-reported condition, the quality of responses to surveys depends on the consistency with which respondents can report a particular condition. Conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism are relatively common terms which are used to refer to pain associated with the joints. Changing public awareness and acceptance of the condition, and associated services, may have affected respondents' tendency to report it. Back

7. Based on studies comparing self-reported diabetes with medical testing for diabetes, there is evidence that for every known case of diabetes, there is one undiagnosed case (International Diabetes Institute (IDI) 2001, King & Rewers 1993). Changes in the reported prevalence may therefore in part reflect changes in screening levels in the community. Back

8. Rates of self-reported hypertension may not accurately reflect real levels. Data from the 1999-2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab) obtained using diagnosis show that one in three Australians aged over 24 years have high blood pressure (IDI 2006). Back

9. Derived from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale - 10 items (K10). this is a scale of non-specific psychological distress based on 10 questions about negative emotional states in the previous 4 weeks. Back

10. Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated from reported height and weight information, using the formula weight (kg) divided by the square of height (m). To produce a measure of the prevalence of 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 Organization (WHO) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines.

BODY MASS INDEX GROUPS

UnderweightLess than 18.5
Normal range18.5 to less than 20.0
20.0 to less than 25.0
Overweight25.0 to less than 30.0
Obese30.0 and greater


11. Current smokers include current daily smokers and other current smokers of cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Back

12. Alcohol risk levels were derived from the average daily consumption of alcohol in the seven days prior to interview and are grouped into relative risk levels as defined by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) as follows:

ALCOHOL RISK LEVEL(a), CONSUMPTION PER DAY

Risk level
Males
Females
Low risk50 mLs or less25 mLs or less
Risky More than 50 mLs, up to 75 mLs More than 25 mLs, up to 50 mLs
High riskMore than 75 mLs More than 50 mLs

(a) One standard drink contains 12.5mls of alcohol. Back

13. In the 2004-05 NHS data about children aged 15 - 17 years was self-reported in 33% of cases, and was provided by a proxy (ie an adult, usually a parent) in the remaining 67% of cases. The source of the information impacted the height/weight information (and hence body mass index) and level of exercise reported. For this reason, data for this age group are excluded from the main analyses in this article. For further information see National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001). Back

14. Based on the reported frequency, intensity and duration of exercise for recreation, sport or fitness in the previous two weeks, an exercise score was derived. Scores were then categorised into 4 exercise levels: sedentary (which includes no or very low exercise level), low, moderate and high. The inactive group described in this publication are those categorised to the sedentary exercise level. For further information see National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) Back

15. In the 2004-05 NHS, the category of other health professionals refers to the following:
Aboriginal health worker (a)ChiropractorOptician/optometrist
Accredited counsellor (a)Dietician/nutritionistOsteopath
AcupuncturistHerbalistPhysiotherapist/hydrotherapist
Alcohol and drug worker (a)HypnotherapistPsychologist
Audiologist/audiometristNaturopathSocial worker/welfare officer
Chemist (for advice only)NurseSpeech therapist/pathologist
Chiropodist/podiatristOccupational therapistTraditional healer (b)

(a) Included in 2001 and 2004-05 but not in 1995. (b) Included in 2004-05 but not in 2001 or 1995. Back


LIST OF REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006a, National Health Survey: Summary of Results, Australia 2004-05, cat. no. 4364.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006b, National Health Survey, Australia 1989-90, 1995, 2001 and 2004-05, unpublished data.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004a, Occasional Paper: Long-term Health Conditions - A Guide To Time Series Comparability From The National Health Survey, Australia, cat.no 4816.0.55.001.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004b, Occasional Paper: Health Risk Factors - a Guide to Time Series Comparability from the National Health Survey, Australia, cat.no 4826.0.55.001.

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