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4364.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/2012  First Issue
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Contents >> About the Australian Health Survey >> Structure of the AHS


This publication is the first of several ABS releases of results from the 2011-13 Australian Health Survey (AHS). The AHS is the largest, most comprehensive health survey ever conducted in Australia. It combines the existing ABS National Health Survey (NHS) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey together with two new elements - a National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) and a National Health Measures Survey (NHMS).

The following diagram shows how the various elements combine to provide comprehensive health information for the overall Australian population. The content for each component survey is listed along with the ages of respondents for which topics were collected.


As shown in the above diagram, the AHS is made up of 3 components:

    • the National Health Survey (NHS);
    • the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS); and
    • the National Health Measures Survey (NHMS)

All people selected in the AHS were selected in either the NHS or the NNPAS, however data items in the core were common to both surveys and therefore information for these data items is available for all persons in the AHS. All people were then invited to participate in the voluntary NHMS.

As indicated in the diagram, 20,500 people participated in the NHS, answering questions about items such as detailed health conditions, health risk factors and medications as well as all items in the core content. For the NHS component (those items collected only in the NHS and not the core), the sample size is similar to that of previous National Health Surveys and therefore the results are comparable. However for those items collected in the core, the sample size (33,500 people - results for which will be published in mid 2013) is approximately 1.5 times that in the past and therefore the estimates for core items such as smoking and Body Mass Index are expected to be more accurate in particular at finer disaggregations than in previous surveys.


The AHS also includes an additional representative sample of around 13,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which commenced in May 2012. This is a separate collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and non-remote areas, including discrete communities. The structure is the same as outlined above, comprised of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey component, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity component and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey component.

For more information on future releases see Release schedule.

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