4363.0.55.002 - National Health Survey 2001: Data Reference Package, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2005   
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This document contains links to the questions and associated prompt cards used in the 2001 National Health Survey (NHS). Also provided is a list of the output data items from the survey. These are made available to assist users of data from the survey in understanding what information was collected and how it was collected. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retains copyright on the questions used in the 2001 NHS. They cannot be used in whole or in part in any other survey or study without the permission of the ABS. In general, when requested the ABS allows the use of questions to support data comparability but only in such a way that avoids any potential confusion about the role of the ABS in surveys run by other organisations, or perceptions that ABS endorses a survey run by another agency. For further information please contact the National Information and Referal Service on 1300 135 070.

If you are specifically interested in information pertaining to the Supplementary Indigenous sample of the National Health Survey, that information is available
from the 2001 National Health Survey: Output Data Items (Indigenous) Survey questionnaires.

If you are specifically interested in time series comparability of the NHS (1995-2001), information is available in the Guide To Time Series Comparability From The National Health Survey, Australia.

2001 NHS Questionnaires

The NHS was collected by personal interview, by trained ABS collection officers. Approximately 26,900 people from all states and territiories and across all age groups were included. The survey enumerated one adult, one child aged 7 to 17 years, and all children aged less than 7 years in each selected dwelling. Persons aged 18 years or more were interviewed personally, with the exception of persons who were unable to answer for themselves because of old age, illness, intellectual disability or difficulty with the English language. In these cases, another person was interviewed on their behalf, provided the interviewer was assured that this was acceptable to the respondent. For persons aged under 18 years, information was obtained from an adult resident, nominated by the household (referred to as the child proxy). Adult female respondents were invited to complete a small additional questionnaire covering supplementary women's health topics. The following documents present the questionnaires used for the 2001 NHS.

NHS01 Household Form

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NHS01 Household Form (Sample).pdf

NHS01 Adult Form

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NHS01 Adult Form (Sample).pdf

NHS01 Women's Form

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NHS01 Womens Health Form (Sample).pdf

NHS01 Child Form
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NHS01 Child Form (Sample).pdf

Prompt Cards

This document presents the prompt cards used in the NHS interviews. Prompt cards were contained in a booklet carried by the NHS interviewers and displayed to the respondent at various points throughout the interview. Prompt cards allow respondents to choose a response to a question from a predetermined list of response categories. They are used to standardise common responses that can be given to particular questions and to ensure that the interview flows efficiently.

NHS01 Written Prompt cards
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NHS01 Written Prompt Cards.pdf

NHS01 Pictorial Prompt cards

Vegetable Prompt Cards

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NHS01 Vegetables prompt card.pdf

Fruit Prompt Cards
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NHS01 fruit prompt card.pdf

Health card Prompt Cards
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NHS01 Health cards prompt card.pdf

Important points to note regarding the NHS questionnaires:
  • The questionnaire was designed to be administered by experienced ABS interviewers, who had received specific training on this survey.
  • The questionnaire was further supported by detailed interviewer instructions, covering general procedural issues as well as specific instructions relating to individual questions. These instructions were retained by interviewers throughout the survey enumeration for reference purposes as required; for example where a respondent asks how to answer for a particular circumstance. Copies of relevant sections from these instructions may be available on request.
  • The questionnaire uses standard ABS conventions, such as the use of capital letters to indicate questions to be asked, lower case to indicate response categories and italics to indicate sequence guides or other instructions to interviewers.
  • The questionnaire was designed to be processed using standard ABS procedures (including office coding) and systems.
  • The questionnaire is not fully indicative of the range of information available from the survey, as additional items are created in processing the data and ABS classifications are applied to raw data inputs. Also, some questions are asked solely for the purpose of enabling or clarifying other questions, and are not available in survey results.

Output Data Item List

The following table provides a summary of the content of the 2001 NHS. Furthermore the attached file lists all data items available on the basic and expanded 2001 NHS Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs). This is not an exhaustive list of all data items available, it does however provide information on the majority of requested variables. Further Information about data items may be found on 2001 National Health Survey: Output Data Items or by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

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NHS01- List of data items contained on the BASIC and EXPANDED CURF.pdf


Health Status Indicators

TopicPopulation Main items
General15 yrs or moreSelf-assessed health status; health transition
AsthmaAllWhether ever had; whether currently has; whether has asthma action plan; medications used in last 2 weeks; type of other action for asthma in last 2 weeks
Asthma symptoms18 - 45 yrs Whether whistly/wheezy chest - frequency; Whether coughing at night or during exercise - frequency
Diabetes/high blood sugarAllWhether ever had; whether currently has; type of diabetes; medications used in last 2 weeks; type of actions taken to manage condition; whether condition interferes with usual activity; whether diabetes- related sight problems; period since last visited optometrist/eye specialist
CancerAllWhether ever had; age diagnosed; whether currently has; type of cancer; medications used in last 2 weeks.
Cardiovascular conditionsAllWhether ever had; whether currently has; type of condition, medications used in last 2 weeks.
Other long-term conditionsAllType of condition
All long term conditionsAll with long-term conditionWhether work related or result of injury; type of injury event
InjuriesAllWhether injury in last 4 weeks resulting in action; type of occurrence; type of injury; parts of body injured; activity at time of event; location of event; whether attended for treatment; whether time off work/school or other reduced activity as a result of injury
Mental well-being18 yrs or moreQuality of life; psychological distress; and use of medication (type, frequency and duration)

Health Related Actions

TopicPopulation Main items
Hospital in-patient episodesAllWhether admitted in last 12 months; number of admissions; most recent admission - number of nights; patient type
Visits to day clinics, out - patients, casualtyAllWhether visited in last 2 weeks; number of visits; whether outpatients visit related to admission
Doctor consultationsAllTime since last visit; number of visits - GP & specialist - in last 2 weeks
Dental consultationsAllTime since last visit; number of visits in last 2 weeks
Consultations with OHPsAllWhether visited in last 2 weeks; number of visits by type of
OHP (Other health professional)
Days off work or schoolStudents
Whether had days away in last 2 weeks due to own illness or as carer; number of days
Other days of reduced activityAllWhether cut down on usual activities in last 2 weeks due to illness; number of days

Health Risk Factors

TopicPopulation Main items
Body mass15 yrs or moreSelf-reported height, weight and body mass; BMI
Smoking18 yrs or moreSmoker status
Alcohol consumption18 yrs or morePeriod since last drank; days consumed in last week; quantity by type consumed in last week; alcohol risk level
Exercise15 yrs or moreType; frequency and duration of exercise in last 2 weeks; exercise level
Diet12 yrs or more
Women18 - 50
18 yrs or more
Type of milk usually consumed; usual daily intake of vegetables and fruit; frequency adding salt
Consumption of folate enriched products in last 2 weeks
Food security
Sun protectionAllWhether regularly have skin checks.
0 - 17 yrsType of protective measures taken in last month
Adult immunisation50 yrs or moreWhether had flu and pneumococcal vaccines; time since last vaccine; how obtained flu vaccine
Children's immunisation0 - 6 yrsType and number of vaccinations received; immunisation status; reasons for vaccinating/not vaccinating
Breastfeeding0 - 3 yrsWhether breastfed; duration of breastfeeding; age at introduction of infant formula, cows milk, milk substitute, solid food; reasons for ceasing breastfeeding

Supplementary Women's Health Topics

TopicPopulation Main items
Breast screeningWomen 18 yrs or moreTypes and frequency of regular breast examines; reasons for last mammogram
Cervical cancer screeningWomen 18 yrs or moreFrequency of Pap test
HysterectomyWomen 18 yrs or moreWhether had hysterectomy; age at hysterectomy
HRTWomen 18 yrs or moreWhether currently use; time used Hormone Replacement Therapy
Breastfeeding historyWomen 18 yrs or moreNumber of children ever had, whether breastfed, number breastfed, time breastfed each child.
Contraception/ protectionWomen 18-49 yrsWhether self/partner use contraception; type of contraception used; age first used contraceptive pill; reasons not using contraception

General Characteristics

TopicPopulation Main items
General demographicsAllSex; age; marital status; Indigenous status; country of birth; year of arrival in Australia; language spoken at home; proficiency in English; Family type; Household size, composition, type; Income unit type; Location
EducationAllWhether attending school; age left school; highest level of school completed; whether has post-school qualification; level of highest post-school qualification; whether currently studying full or part time
Labour Force15 yrs or moreLabour force status; status in employment; no of jobs; occupation, industry and industry sector of main job; hours worked; duration of unemployment; shift work
Income15 yrs or morePersonal income - Level; sources and main source; type of pension/benefit received. Income unit income - Level
HousingAllDwelling type; number of bedrooms
Private health insurance (PHI) / health cards15 yrs or moreWhether has PHI; contribution rate; type of cover; time covered by PHI; reasons having/not having PHI; Whether has DVA or other Govt concession card: type of card cards held

Further information on the results of this survey are available in the Summary Results: 2001 National Health Survey, information on the Confidentialised Unit Record File is available in the Information Paper: National Health Survey - Confidentialised Unit Record Files, and other general information about this survey can be found in 2001 National Health Survey: Users' Guide.