4364.0.55.004 - Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity, 2011-12  
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GLOSSARY

The definitions used in this survey are not necessarily identical to those used for similar items in other collections. Additional information about the items is contained in the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001), including a more detailed Glossary.

Active transport

This refers to a method of transport that involves physical activity. For children/young people in this survey, this included walking, riding a bike, or riding a skateboard/scooter/rollerblades to get to or from places.

Adequate fruit and vegetable consumption

This refers to adequate fruit or vegetable dietary intake as reported by the respondent, based on the NHMRC Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults and Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia. See Dietary guidelines.

Australian Health Survey (AHS)

The Australian Health Survey 2011-13 is composed of three separate surveys:

  • National Health Survey (NHS) 2011-12
  • National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) 2011-12
  • National Health Measures Survey (NHMS) 2011-12.

In addition to this, the AHS Survey contains a Core dataset, which is produced from questions that are common to both the NHS and NNPAS. See About the Australian Health Survey for details.

Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED)

The Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) is a national standard classification which includes all sectors of the Australian education system: that is, schools, vocational education and training, and higher education. ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education.

Bedroom screen-based equipment

Refers to TVs, computers, game consoles, as well as associated devices such as DVD/Blu-ray players, digital video recorders, and portable items such as handheld devices or laptops that are located in the child/young person’s bedroom.

Blood pressure

See High blood pressure, Normal blood pressure, Systolic blood pressure, Diastolic blood pressure.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity. It is calculated from height and weight information, using the formula weight (kg) divided by the square of height (m). To produce a measure of the prevalence of underweight, normal weight, 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, Adults

CategoryRange

UnderweightLess than 18.50
Normal range
Overweight
18.50 — 24.99
25.00 — 29.99
Obese30.00 or more

Separate BMI classifications were produced for children. BMI scores were created in the same manner described above but also took into account the age and sex of the child. There are different cut-offs for BMI categories (underweight/normal combined, overweight or obese) for male and female children. These categories differ to the categories used in the adult BMI classification and follow the scale provided in Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM and Dietz WH, Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey, BMJ 2000; 320. For a detailed list of the cut-offs used to calculate BMI for children see the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) chapter on Body Mass and Physical Measurements and Appendix 4: Classification of BMI for children.

Child proxy

See proxy.

Current smoker

A respondent who reported at the time of interview that they smoked cigarettes, cigars or pipes. See also Smoker status.

Diastolic blood pressure

Measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes before the next beat. It is the lower number of the blood pressure reading.

Dietary guidelines

The estimates in this publication for whether a person has met the guidelines for adequate fruit and vegetable consumption are based on the following guidelines specified by the National Health and Medical Research Council:


A serve of fruit is approximately 150 grams of fresh fruit or 50 grams of dried fruit. A serve of vegetables is approximately half a cup of cooked vegetables or one cup of salad vegetables - equivalent to approximately 75 grams.

Employed

Persons aged 15 years and over who had a job or business, or who undertook work without pay in a family business for a minimum of one hour per week. Includes persons who were absent from a job or business. See also Unemployed and Not in the labour force.

Equivalised household income

Equivalised household income is total household income adjusted by the application of an equivalence scale to facilitate comparison of income levels between households of differing size and composition, reflecting the requirement of a larger household to have a higher level of income to achieve the same standard of living as a smaller household.

Ex-smoker

A respondent who reported they did not currently smoke, but had regularly smoked daily, or had smoked at least 100 cigarettes, or smoked pipes, cigars, etc at least 20 times in their lifetime. See also Smoker status.

Health risk factors

Specific lifestyle and related factors impacting on health, including:

  • tobacco smoking
  • physical activity
  • body mass
  • dietary behaviour
  • blood pressure.

High blood pressure

A measured blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg (millimetres of mercury) or higher. Data on high blood pressure in this publication refer to measured blood pressure only, and do not take into account whether people who might otherwise have high blood pressure are managing their condition through the use of blood pressure medications.

Household structure

Refers to the composition of the household to which the respondent belonged. In the NNPAS summary of findings, the categories “Couple with children “ and “One person with children” include all couples/single persons living with children of any age as well as including, if applicable, one other relative aged 15 years or older who is not more closely related to anyone else in the household. This definition may vary from other AHS releases where household type categories which include “one other relative aged 15 years or older who is not more closely related to anyone else in the household” were grouped with the “Other households” category. For further details on available categories for Household type please refer to the data item list in Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Level of highest non-school educational qualification

The level of the highest educational qualification obtained other than a school qualification; this may include non-school qualifications obtained while still at school.

Inactive

This term is used in relation to persons aged 18 years and older, who did not do any physical activity (including walking for transport and fitness, and moderate and vigorous activity) in the week before interview.

Inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption

This refers to inadequate fruit or vegetable dietary intake as reported by the respondent, based on the NHMRC Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults and Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia. See also Dietary guidelines.

Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage

This is one of four Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) compiled by the ABS following each Census of Population and Housing. The indexes are compiled from various characteristics of persons resident in particular areas: the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage summarises attributes such as low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations.

A lower Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage quintile (e.g. the first quintile) indicates relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. A higher Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (e.g. the fifth quintile) indicates a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general. The 2011 IRSD SEIFA was used in this publication. For further information about SEIFA see Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Insufficiently active

This term is used in relation to persons aged 18 years and older, who are not completely inactive but who fail to meet the requirement of at least 150 minutes of physical activity (including walking for transport and fitness, and moderate and vigorous activity) over five separate sessions in a given week. For the purpose of this measure, vigorous activity time is multiplied by a factor of two.

Labour force status

Refers to the employment situation of respondents at the time of the survey. Categories are:

  • employed
  • unemployed (aged 15 years and over, not employed and actively looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey)
  • not in the labour force (all children less than 15 years, and persons 15 years and over who were neither employed or unemployed).

See also Employed, Unemployed, In the labour force, Not in the labour force.

Margin of Error (MoE)

Describes the distance from the precision of the estimate at a given confidence level, and is specified at a given level of confidence (95% in this publication). In this publication, Margin of error has only been provided for proportions and averages tables. For more information see the Technical notes of this publication.

Metabolic Equivalent Task (MET)

Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) or intensity values are a measure of the energy expenditure required to carry out exercise, expressed as a multiple of the resting metabolic rate (RMR). MET is defined as the ratio of metabolic rate (and therefore the rate of energy consumption) during a specific physical activity to a reference rate of metabolic rate at rest. For further information about METs see Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Moderate physical activity

This refers to physical activity undertaken by adults for fitness, recreation, or sport that was more moderate, and not already reported as vigorous physical activity. For children, see Physical Activity.

National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS)

The National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey focused on collecting information on:

  • dietary behaviour and food avoidance (including 24 hour dietary recall)
  • selected medical conditions that had lasted, or were expected to last for six months or more
    • cardiovascular and circulatory conditions
    • diabetes and high sugar levels
    • kidney disease
  • blood pressure
  • female life stages
  • physical activity and sedentary behaviour (including 8 day pedometer component)
  • use of tobacco
  • physical measurements (height, weight and waist circumference).

Never smoked

A respondent who reported they had never regularly smoked daily, and had smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and/or had smoked pipes, cigars, etc less than 20 times in their lifetime. See also Smoker status.

Non-response

Non-response occurs when people cannot or will not cooperate, or cannot be contacted. Non-response can affect the reliability of results and can introduce a bias. The magnitude of any bias depends on the rate of non-response and the extent of the difference between the characteristics of those people who responded to the survey and those who did not. For more information see the Explanatory notes of this publication.

Non-sampling error

Non-sampling error may occur in any data collection, whether it is based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Non-sampling errors occur when survey processes work less effectively than intended. Sources of non-sampling error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents or in recording of answers by interviewers, and occasional errors in coding and processing data.

Normal blood pressure

This refers to a measured blood pressure reading of less than 140/90 mmHg (millimetres of mercury). Persons who had one of these readings at a higher level were placed in the higher blood pressure category.

Normal weight

See Body Mass Index (BMI).

Not in the labour force

Persons aged 15 years or older who are not employed or unemployed as defined, including persons who:

  • are retired
  • no longer work
  • do not intend to work in the future
  • are permanently unable to work
  • have never worked and never intend to work.

(See also Labour force status).

Obese

See Body Mass Index (BMI).

Organised physical activity

Physical activity that was organised by a club, association, or other type of organisation.

Overweight

See Body Mass Index (BMI).

Pedometer day threshold

To be included in some of the summary pedometer data items on the person level a minimum days threshold was applied. This required a respondent to report at least four days of pedometer data, including at minimum one week and one weekend day.

Pedometer recommended thresholds

As there are no current standard National recommendations for Pedometer data, results from the data collected were measured against thresholds for young people aged 5-17 years and adults found in other published sources. The following are those thresholds presented in this publication, based on calculations of average steps over days reported:


Step thresholds

Adults (aged 18 years and over)
MaleAt least 10,000 steps
FemaleAt least 10,000 steps

Children (aged 5-17 years)
Threshold 1
Male At least 13,000 steps
FemaleAt least 11,000 steps
Threshold 1 (variation)
MaleAt least 12,000 steps
FemaleAt least 12,000 steps


For more information see the Pedometer Steps chapter of the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Physical activity

Any bodily movement that requires energy expenditure. For the purposes of the NNPAS survey, the definition is slightly different for each age group:

  • For children aged 2-4 years, physical activity includes any activity that involves bodily movement. This was collected using the concepts of indoor and outdoor physical activity or active play.
  • For children aged 5-17 years, physical activity includes any activity that increases the respondent's heart rate and makes them get out of breath some of the time. This was collected using the concepts of active transport and moderate/vigorous physical activity.
  • For persons aged 18 years and over, physical activity includes walking (for transport, fitness, recreation, or sport) and any other activity that was of moderate or vigorous intensity (see Moderate physical activity and Vigorous physical activity).

For more detailed information see the Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour chapter of the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Physical activity recommendation

A recommended amount of physical activity to undertake, based on the National Physical Activity Recommendations. These vary according to age group:

  • For children aged 2-4 years: at least three hours of physical activity every day, either in a single block or spread throughout the day.
  • For persons aged 5-17 years: at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
  • For persons aged 18 years and over: 150 minutes of physical activity over five or more sessions per week.

For more detailed information see the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Proxy

A proxy is a person who answers the survey questions when the person selected for the interview is incapable of answering for themselves. Reasons the selected person may not be able to answer for themselves include illness/injury or language difficulties. A proxy also answers on behalf of a child under 15 years of age; or for a child aged 15-17 years when parental consent is not given to interview them personally.

Quintile

The portion of a frequency distribution containing one fifth of the total sample.

Relative Standard Error (RSE)

The standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate. For more information see the Technical notes in this publication.

Remoteness

The Remoteness Structure for the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) 2011, has five categories based on an aggregation of geographical areas which share common characteristics of remoteness, determined in the context of Australia as a whole. These categories are:

  • Major cities of Australia
  • Inner regional Australia
  • Outer regional Australia
  • Remote Australia
  • Very remote Australia

The five categories are generally aggregated in some way for use in output.

The 2011 Remoteness Structure has been built using the same principles as the 2006 Remoteness Structure. The primary difference is that it was built from ASGS Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) regions rather than from 2006 Census Collection Districts (CCD).

The criteria for these categories are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) developed by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and the National Key Centre for Social Applications of GIS (GISCA). ARIA measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distance to the nearest Urban Centre in each of five size classes. For more information on how ARIA is defined see Information Paper: ABS Views on Remoteness, 2001 (cat. no. 1244.0) and Information Paper: Outcomes of ABS Views on Remoteness Consultation, Australia, Jun 2001 (cat. no. 1244.0.00.001). Also refer to Census Geography Paper 03/01 - ASGC Remoteness Classification - Purpose and Use, available from the ABS web site.

Sampling error

The difference between estimates, derived from a sample of persons, and the value that would have been produced if all persons in scope of the survey had been included. For more information see the Explanatory notes in this publication.

Screen-based activity

Use of a screen-based device such as television, computer, or electronic gaming device. For this survey, screen-based activities were collected as a sedentary behaviour, that is activities that occurred when sitting or lying down.

Screen-based recommendation

A recommended amount of time to be spent on screen-based activities, based on the National Physical Activity Recommendations. These vary according to age group:

  • For children aged 2-4 years: a maximum of one hour of screen-based activity per day, that is on electronic media such as DVDs, computer and other electronic games. For this survey, only sedentary screen-based activities were collected for reporting against the recommendations.
  • For persons aged 5-17 years: a maximum of two hours screen-based activity for entertainment/non-educational purposes a day. For the purposes of this survey, homework was collected separately and excluded from the recommendations calculation, however screen-based activity totals may have included some other reported screen-based activity for educational purposes, for example, using a computer at school. Also, only sedentary screen-based activities were collected for reporting against the recommendations.
  • For persons aged 18 years and over, there are no recommendations currently available.

For more information see the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Sedentary behaviour

Sitting or lying down for activities, does not include sleeping.

Sedentary Leisure Activities

Sitting or lying down for activities outside of work. This includes sitting while travelling, and sitting or lying down while watching TV, playing electronic games, using a computer or a phone, and other social or leisure activities.

Sedentary screen-based activity

Sitting or lying down to use screen-based devices such as television, computer, or electronic gaming devices.

Self-assessed health status

A person's general assessment of their own health against a five point scale from excellent through to poor.

Smoker status

The extent to which a person aged 15 years and over was smoking at the time of interview, referring to regular smoking of tobacco, including manufactured (packet) cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars and pipes, but excluding chewing tobacco and smoking of non-tobacco products. Categorised as:

  • Current daily smoker - A respondent who reported at the time of interview that they regularly smoked one or more cigarettes, cigars or pipes per day.
  • Current smoker: other - A respondent who reported at the time of interview that they smoked cigarettes, cigars or pipes less frequently than daily.
  • Ex-smoker - A respondent who reported they did not currently smoke, but had regularly smoked daily, or had smoked at least 100 cigarettes, or smoked pipes, cigars, etc at least 20 times in their lifetime.
  • Never smoked - A respondent who reported they had never regularly smoked daily, and had smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and/or had smoked pipes, cigars, etc less than 20 times in their lifetime.

See also: Current smoker, Ex-smoker, Never smoked.

Strength and toning

Activities designed with the intention to increase muscle strength or tone, such as lifting weights, pull-ups, push-ups, or sit ups. Excludes incidental activity, such as carrying or lifting wood for a wood fire or heavy grocery bags.

Sufficiently active for health

This term is used in relation to persons aged 18 years and over, who participated in at least 150 minutes of physical activity (including walking for transport and fitness, and moderate and vigorous activity) over five separate sessions in a given week. See also: Inactive, Insufficiently active and Sufficient physical activity.

Sufficient physical activity

This term refers to the concept of respondents meeting the recommendations of time and sessions for physical activity during a week. For persons aged 18 years and older to have met these guidelines they must have participated in at least 150 minutes of physical activity (including walking for transport and fitness, and moderate and vigorous activity) over five separate sessions in a given week. For the purpose of this measure, vigorous activity time is multiplied by a factor of two. See also: Inactive, Insufficiently active and Sufficiently active for health.

Systolic blood pressure

Measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps blood during each beat. It is the higher number of the blood pressure reading.

Threshold 1

See Pedometer recommended thresholds.

Underweight

See Body Mass Index (BMI).

Unemployed

Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed and actively looking for work in the four weeks prior to the survey, and were available to start work in the week prior to the survey.

Vigorous gardening

Any gardening or heavy work around the yard that caused the respondent to breathe harder or puff and pant.

Vigorous physical activity

This refers to physical activity undertaken by adults for fitness, recreation, or sport that caused a respondent to breathe harder or puff and pant. This does not include walking, moderate physical activity, household chores, or vigorous gardening/yard work. For children, see Physical activity.

Walking for fitness, recreation or sport

Walking that was continuous for at least 10 minute intervals for the purpose of improving fitness, or as part of recreational or sporting activities.

Walking for transport

Walking that was continuous for at least 10 minute intervals for the purpose of getting to or from places.