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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Health >> How Australians rate their health

The WHO defines health as 'a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity'. While the level of disease or infirmity can be assessed by mortality, disability and morbidity statistics, the presence of positive wellbeing is more difficult to measure.

Health and wellbeing

In 2001, the majority of Australians aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in good health, with 82% reporting their health status as good, very good or excellent. This is similar to the proportion reported in the previous NHS (83% in 1995). In 2001, young men aged 15-24 were most likely to consider themselves to be in good health (92%), while women aged 85 years or more were least likely to report that they were in good health (60%).

The distribution across health status categories was similar for males and females (table 9.1). As would be expected, the proportion of people reporting fair or poor health increased with age. Of those aged 15-24, 9% assessed their health as fair or poor in comparison to 34% of those aged 65 years and over. In addition, individuals' rating of their health was strongly related to their physical health. In 2001, some 96% of those without a long-term condition assessed their health as good, very good or excellent, compared to 80% of those who reported a long-term condition.


9.1 SELF-ASSESSED HEALTH STATUS - 2001

Age group (years)

15-24
25-44
45-64
65 and over
All age groups
%
%
%
%
%

MALES

Excellent
28.6
20.4
14.4
9.9
18.6
Very good
38.3
35.5
29.1
20.2
31.9
Good
24.9
31.7
32.5
36.0
31.3
Fair/poor
8.1
12.3
24.0
33.9
18.1

FEMALES

Excellent
22.1
22.9
17.2
10.6
19.1
Very good
39.8
37.8
30.9
22.5
33.7
Good
27.8
27.5
29.8
33.5
29.2
Fair/poor
10.3
11.8
22.1
33.5
18.1

PERSONS

Excellent
25.4
21.7
15.8
10.3
18.9
Very good
39.1
36.7
30.0
21.4
32.8
Good
26.3
29.6
31.2
34.6
30.2
Fair/poor
9.2
12.1
23.0
33.7
18.1

Source: ABS data available on request, preliminary data from the 2001 National Health Survey.


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