Australian Bureau of Statistics

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Topics @ a Glance - Health
Using Health Statistics



National Health Survey (NHS)

The aim of the NHS is to provide a general snapshot of the health of Australians on a regular basis. The NHS focuses on chronic (long-term) conditions; health risk behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and obesity; interventions such as visits to doctors and hospitals; medications; and information on recent injuries. The NHS was conducted in 1989-90, 1995, 2001, 2004-05 and 2007–08.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

The NATSIHS, conducted in 2004-05, is the largest national health survey of Indigenous Australians ever conducted, in both remote and non-remote areas. Results provide data on health indicators, risk factors, health service use and social and emotional wellbeing, with key comparisons to NHS results and over time to the Indigenous supplement to the 2001 NHS. Further information can be found on the
Indigenous theme page.

Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (SMHWB)

The National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing was conducted in 2007, with the previous survey conducted in 1997. The survey provides information on the prevalence of selected mental disorders in Australia amongst people aged 16 to 85 years, and also provides information on comorbidity of mental disorders, use of health services, level of impairment, chronic physical conditions, social networks and caregiving, and demographic and socio-economic characteristics.

Causes of Death

Causes of death statistics are compiled annually from data made available to the ABS by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in each State or Territory.

Private Hospitals

The Private Hospitals collection is an annual survey which collects information about the activities, staffing and finances of all private hospitals in Australia. Data related to public hospitals are available from the
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

National Nutrition Survey

The National Nutrition Survey was conducted in 1995 on a subsample of respondents from the 1995 NHS. The objectives were to provide data on food intake for comparison with dietary guidelines and nutrient intake for comparison with Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDIs) - for Australians in general, and for those population groups at risk of health problems related to diet. Physical measurements (height, weight, waist and hip for all respondents and blood pressure for those aged 16 years and over) were also collected.

Health related topics are also collected in other ABS collections, as listed below.

TopicCollection TitlePast/current collectionsPlanned future collections
Work-related injuriesMulti-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS)2005–062009–10
Participation in sports and physical recreationMulti-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS)2005–062009–10
Pregnancy and employment transitionsMonthly Population Survey (MPS)2005–062011–2012
Children's participation in culture and leisure activitiesMonthly Population Survey (MPS)2005–062008–09, 2011–2012

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The major sources of information to assist the accurate use of ABS health statistics include:

Information about particular aspects of previously released ABS health statistics which may assist in interpretation include:

To enquire about ABS information consultancy services for health data, call 1300 135 070 or email

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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