4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/06/2013   
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Contents >> Health conditions >> Osteoporosis



This topic refers primarily to those ever told by a doctor or nurse they have osteoporosis or osteopenia (a mild loss of bone mass density that may progress to osteoporosis).


Information was obtained for all persons 15 years and over and selected persons aged less than 15 years who reported they currently have gout, rheumatism or arthritis in the NHS.


Respondents aged 15 years and over, and younger respondents who reported having gout, rheumatism or arthritis, were asked whether they had ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had osteoporosis, osteopenia or both, and if so, the age they were first told. All cases reported were assumed to be current and long-term.

Respondents were then asked whether they had taken any of the following actions in the last 2 weeks:

  • did weight/strength/resistance training
  • obtained and/or used physical aids (used at home or work)
  • water therapy
  • massage
  • changed eating pattern/diet
  • losing weight
  • exercised most days
  • other actions taken.

More than one response was allowed.

All respondents with osteoporosis/osteopenia, as well as all remaining respondents aged 50 years and over, were then asked whether they had ever had their bone density tested, and if so, whether it had been tested in the last 2 years.

Respondents who reported having osteoporosis, osteopenia or both were then sequenced to the Actions module where they were asked questions about the number of times they had seen a GP, specialist, etc. for their osteoporosis.

Respondents were asked in a later module about all medications and health supplements that they were taking, but not in relation to any specific condition. This differs from the 2007-08 survey where questions about medication were asked within the specific osteoporosis module.

Data items

The data items and related output categories for this topic are available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following:
  • The currency and long-term nature of the condition were assumed. While this is appropriate for the nature of this condition, it differs conceptually from the approach used for most other conditions covered in the survey.
  • Those cases of osteoporosis reported through the 'Long-term conditions' module, rather than the 'osteoporosis' module, have not necessarily been diagnosed by a doctor or nurse. These respondents are identified by their conditions status of 4: Not known if ever told or not ever told, but condition current and long-term.
  • Because this is a household based survey, those people with osteoporosis or osteopenia resident in hospitals, nursing or convalescent homes or similar accommodation are outside the scope of this survey. As a result, the survey will under-represent those with more severe complications of the condition, and the elderly.

Comparability with 2007-08

Osteoporosis data are considered directly comparable between the 2007-08 and 2011-12 surveys.

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