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Newsletters - Health Statistics News - No 43, March/June 2000
 
 



CONTENTS

HEALTH OF OLDER PEOPLE IN NSW

The health of people in NSW aged 65 years and over is one of several topics included in the publication Older People, New South Wales, 2000 (Cat. no. 4108.1) which was released in March. In 1998, there were 807,000 people aged 65 years and over in NSW representing over one third of all Australians in that age group and about 1 in 8 people in NSW.

Health related topics included in the publication are: life expectancy, causes of death, disability, health status and health related risk factors such as food and nutrition, weight, exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking.

Almost 2 out of 3 people aged 65 years and older rated their health as good to excellent and many appeared to be keen to maintain their health with over half exercising regularly and only 12% smoking.

However, most experienced some sort of health problem. Apart from sight and hearing problems, the most common long term conditions were arthritis experienced by 52% of older people and hypertension by 39%. Some 54% of older people had a disability with the level of restriction increasing with age. The leading causes of death were ischaemic heart disease, cancer and stroke which accounted for 61% of deaths among older people.There have been substantial increases in life expectancy in recent decades. At 65 years of age both men and women can expect to live an extra 4 years longer than in 1971. A man of 65 years of age can expect, on average, to live another 16years while women will live, on average, another 20 years.

Other topics included in the publication are: population, living arrangements, activities and lifestyle, housing, economic environment and transport.Older People, New South Wales, 2000 costs $15 and is available from ABS Bookshops.

For further information:
Contact: Elizabeth Pogson (02) 9268 4212
Email: elizabeth.pogson@abs.gov.au

WOMEN'S YEAR BOOK

The ABS has contributed a comprehensive statistical appendix to a recent publication Women in Australia 1999, produced by the Commonwealth Office of the Status of Women. The experiences of women and men in key areas of social concern, such as population, family and living arrangements, health, education, working life, economic resources, crime, safety and decision making are covered, drawing on information from ABS collections and other official sources. A theme paper about older women in the International Year of Older Persons is also included.

The health chapter in this publication contains data and commentary on disability, mental health, long term health conditions, mortality, risk factors and use of medical services, and contraception. The publication is priced at $20, and is available through any Government Info Shop.

For further information:
Contact: Lindy Ingham (02) 6252 5607
Email: lindy.ingham@abs.gov.au.

NATIONAL HEALTH SURVEY (NHS)

The next National Health Survey will be conducted in 2001. This survey will be the first in a series of triennial surveys, made possible through a funding partnership agreement between the ABS and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

The survey will cover 20,000 private households across Australia (excluding sparsely settled areas and special dwelling such as prisons, hospitals, etc). It is proposed to enumerate one adult and all children (aged 0 to 17 years) within each household providing an estimated total sample of around 34,000 respondents. This sample will support output at the national level, and for more common health characteristics, output for individual States
and Territories.

The sample of Indigenous people will be supplemented by around 2,800 respondents, and will include sparsely settled areas. This sample is considered sufficient to support survey estimates at the national level. A reduced questionnaire will be administered in sparsely settled areas.

Information will be collected primarily by personal interview with respondents aged 18 years or more, and some respondents aged 15 to 17 years. Information about younger children will be obtained from a parent or guardian.

Development of the survey has been undertaken in consultation with major users of the ABS health data. Initial development and testing of the survey has been completed, with a field test conducted in May 2000. Key future milestones for the survey include conduct of a dress rehearsal in September 2000, survey enumeration over the period February to December 2001, and delivery of output from September 2002.

Topics included in the May test are shown below. Whether or not these topics are included in the final survey is dependent on the outcome of testing.It may be necessary to reduce the survey content, in consultation with major users of the data, if interview times in the test exceed allowable limits.

Topics in the May test include:
  • Demographic, socioeconomic and geographic characteristics.
  • Health status indicators:
        Self-assessed health status, health transition
        National health priority area conditions - Cardiovascular conditions, cancer, asthma, diabetes
        Other long-term conditions
        Mental health
        Injuries
        Disability
  • Health related actions:
      Hospital in-patient episodes
        Visits to casualty, outpatients, day clinics
        Doctor and dental consultations
        Consultations with other health professional
        Use of medications (incl vitamins/minerals, natural/herbal medications) - for National health priority area conditions only
        Days away from work/school
        Other days of reduced activity
        Health cards, Private health insurance
  • Health risk factors:
        Smoking
        Alcohol consumption
        Exercise
        Body mass
        Sun protection
        Dietary Labels
        Immunisation
        Breastfeeding
        Child care
  • Supplementary women's health topics (collected in a self completion form):
        Breast cancer
        Breast cancer screening
        Cervical cancer screening
        Hysterectomy
        Hormone replacement therapy
        Breastfeeding
        Contraception

    Where possible and appropriate, the survey will be designed to collect data comparable with data obtained in the 1995 NHS. However, the 2001 survey will include new topics, and major changes have been made to some topics to collect new information, or resolve data problems. These include the national health priority area conditions, mental health, injuries, disability, use of medications, dietary habits and immunisation.

    For further information:
    Contact: Mike Langan (02) 6252 6403
    Email: mike.langan@abs.gov.au

    SUICIDE IN AUSTRALIA 1921-1998

    The third in a series of publications on suicide was released on 29 March 2000. The release of the report Suicides 1921-1998 Australia (ABS Catalogue No. 3309.0) coincided with a national conference on suicide prevention held at the Melbourne Convention Centre from 1-3 April 2000.

    Some of the major findings from the report were:

    In 1998, people in the 25-44 years age group had the highest rate of suicide (23 suicides per 100,000 persons), followed by people in the 15-24 years age group (17 suicides per 100,000 persons). There were 2683 suicides registered in 1998, 40 less than in 1997.

    The overall suicide rate in 1998 was much the same as it was in 1921 at 14 suicides per 100,000 persons. However, over this period the rate has fluctuated considerably and the components which make up the rate have changed. For example, although male suicide rates have been significantly higher than female rates every year, this ratio has varied from a high of five male suicides to every female suicide in 1921-1925 to a low of two to one
    in 1966-1970.

    The suicide rate has varied by age over this period with the trend for older Australians being the reverse of that for young people. Suicide rates declined in the 65-plus age group (from 27 per 100,000 persons in 1921-1925 to 15 in 1996-1998) and increased in the 15-24 years age group (from 6 to 17 over the same period).

    In 1998, people living in capital cities had the lowest rate of suicide (13 per 100,000 persons). In general people living in other urban areas had the next lowest rate (15), and people living in rural areas had the highest (17). In 1998, the Northern Territory recorded the highest death rate from suicide (21 per 100,000 persons), followed by Queensland and South Australia (16), Western Australia (15), New South Wales (13), Tasmania and Victoria (12) and the Australian Capital Territory (9.5). Care needs to be taken, however, when interpreting State and Territory suicide rates because of small numbers and yearly fluctuations, especially in the smaller States and Territories.

    The ABS has tabulated all causes and conditions reported on death certificates since 1997 rather than just tabulating the main underlying cause of death as previously done. Results show that in 1998 15% of males and 18% of females who suicided also had an associated or contributory diagnosis of a mental disorder. Approximately 4% of males and 5% of females who suicided also had a disease of the circulatory system mentioned on their death certificate.

    In the period 1995-1997, using estimates based on the 1996 Census, married people (9 per 100,000 persons) were less likely to die from suicide than those who were never married (22), widowed (13) or divorced (26 per 100,000 persons).

    In general, the most likely method of suicide for males throughout the 1990s was hanging, and for females poisoning by solid or liquid substance. However, in 1998, hanging was the leading method of suicide for both males and females.

    For further information:
    Contact: Norma Briscoe (02) 6252 7318
    Email: norma.briscoe@abs.gov.au




    ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

    Health Statistics News is a quarterly publication from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Health Section, Canberra, available to interested individuals or organisations. If you or your organisation would like to be placed on our mailing list, please contact Darren Viskovich at the address shown below
    and provide your address details and the number of copies requested.

    Published by:

    Health Section
    Australian Bureau of Statistics
    W31c
    PO Box 10
    BELCONNEN ACT 2616

    Ph. (02) 6252 6308
    Fax (02) 6252 8007
    Email: darren.viskovich@abs.gov.au


    PUBLICATIONS RELEASED (January 2000 to March 2000)

    1362.8: Regional Statistics, Australian Capital Territory, 2000 ($22.00)

    3101.0: Australian Demographic Statistics, September Quarter 1999 ($19.50)

    3218.0: Regional Population Growth, Australia, 1998-99 ($24.00)

    3237.2: Population Mobility, Victoria, 1999 ($17.50)

    3401.0: Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, January 2000 ($16.50)

    3309.0: Suicides, Australia, 1921 to 1998 (Corrigendum)

    3309.0: Suicides, Australia, 1921 to 1998 ($18.50)

    3401.0: Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, November 1999 ($18.00)

    3311.1: Demograpghy, New South Wales, 1998 ($22.00)

    3412.0: Migration, Australia, 1998-99 ($24.00)

    4103.0: Population Survey Monitor ($16.00)

    4108.0: Older People, New South Wales, 2000 ($15.00) (Previously: Older People in New South Wales: A Profile)

    8922.0: Australia's Young People: Their Health and Wellbeing ($35.00)


    These publications are available from ABS book shops in each capital city:

    Canberra: (02) 6252 6627

    Adelaide: (08) 8237 7400

    Sydney: (02) 9268 4611

    Hobart: (03) 6222 5800

    Darwin: (08) 8943 2111

    Melbourne: (03) 9615 7755

    Brisbane: (07) 3222 6351

    Perth: (08) 9360 5140


    National Mail Order Service (02) 6252 5249 or Subscription Service 1300 366 323

    Email: client.services@abs.gov.au



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