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2009 NHMRC Guidelines(a)(b)
Alcohol consumption status information was also collected for persons who did not consume any alcohol in the 7 days prior to interview, categorised as:
For more detailed information on the 2009 NHMRC guidelines, see the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol and Frequently Asked Questions.
For a detailed explanation of the method used to measure alcohol consumption in ABS health surveys, see Alcohol Consumption in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4832.0.55.001).
Arthritis is characterised by an inflammation of the joints often resulting in pain, stiffness, disability and deformity.
A chronic disease marked by episodes of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath associated with widespread narrowing of the airways within the lungs and obstruction of airflow. To be current, symptoms of asthma or treatment for asthma must have occurred in the last 12 months.
Accessibility / Remoteness Index of Australia
Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) was developed by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging (DoHA) and the National Key Centre for Social Applications of Geographic Information Systems (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 website.
The ATC system classifies therapeutic drugs, to enable drug utilisation research and improve the quality of drug use. Drugs are divided into different groups according to the organ or system they act on as well as their chemical, pharmacological and therapeutic properties.
ASGC and ASGS Remoteness Structure
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines use the best available scientific evidence to provide information on the types and amounts of foods, food groups, and dietary patterns that aim to:
The Guidelines are for use by health professionals, policy makers, educators, food manufacturers, food retailers and researchers.
The content of the Australian Dietary Guidelines applies to all healthy Australians, as well as those with common diet-related risk factors such as being overweight. They do not apply to people who need special dietary advice for a medical condition, or to the frail elderly.
See Usual daily intake of fruit and Usual daily intake of vegetables.
Australian Health Survey (AHS)
The Australian Health Survey 2011-13 was composed of three separate surveys:
Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines
The 2014 Guidelines recommend that:
Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) classifications
'Back problems (dorsopathies)' include sciatica, disc disorders, back pain/problems not elsewhere classified and curvature of the spine. Publications prior to 2014-15 defined 'Back problems' as including only disc disorders and back pain/problems not elsewhere classified.
See High blood pressure, Diastolic blood pressure and Systolic blood pressure.
Indication of the severity of any bodily pain that the respondent had experienced (from any and all causes) during the last 4 weeks. This is a self-assessment from the SF36 international instrument. Data was collected from respondents aged 18 years and over.
For more information about the SF36, see: 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36)
Body Mass Index
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). In the 2017-18 NHS, respondents were also asked to self report their height and weight. 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.
Body Mass Index, Adults
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 cutoffs 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.
Cancer (malignant neoplasms)
Cancer is a condition in which the body's cells grow and spread in an uncontrolled manner. A cancerous cell can arise from almost any cell, and therefore cancer can be found almost anywhere in the body.
A person aged 0-17 years.
Tables 1, 2, 18 and 19 present data on a subset of long-term health conditions, referred to as chronic diseases. These consist of:
and are selected for reporting because they are mostly common, pose significant health problems, have been the focus of recent population health surveillance efforts, and action can be taken to prevent their occurrence.
In this publication, persons were included in estimates when they reported that their condition was current and long-term; that is, their condition was current at the time of interview and had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more. In 2014-15 and 2017-18, estimates also included persons who reported they had diabetes mellitus, angina, heart attack, other ischaemic heart diseases, stroke or other cerebrovascular diseases, but that these conditions were not current and long-term at the time of interview.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a collective term for a group of conditions that include emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma that is not fully reversible. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common forms of COPD.
In this survey, comorbidity is a term used to describe the occurrence of two or more conditions. Some comorbidity (self report) data items have been produced for specific combinations of conditions to aid this type of analysis.
However, it is possible to utilise the available condition data in the ICD-10 data items to undertake analysis of additional combinations of health conditions. Different restrictions (for example whether a condition is diagnosed, or whether a condition is current) can also be applied to individual conditions when undertaking analysis.
Health conditions reported by respondents in the NHS are presented using a classification originally developed for the 2001 NHS by the Family Medicine Research Centre, University of Sydney, in conjunction with the ABS. The classification is based on the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and is used for all years from 2001 to 2017-18. See also Long-term health condition.
Condition status brings together information about whether or not a person has ever been told by a doctor or nurse they have a condition, whether a condition was current at the time of the survey, and, if current, whether the condition was long-term (i.e. had lasted or was expected to last for 6 months or more).
Current daily smoker
A current daily smoker is a respondent who reported at the time of interview that they regularly smoked one or more cigarettes, cigars or pipes per day. See also Smoker status.
Includes partial or total loss of hearing.
Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) client
Refers to those receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Note that many people beyond former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members may qualify for a benefit or support from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, including:
There are three types of child identified during family coding:
A child under 15 years is any individual under 15, usually resident in the household, who forms a parent-child relationship with another member of the household. This includes otherwise related children less than 15 years of age and unrelated children less than 15 years of age.
Dependent student refers to a natural, adopted, step or foster child who is 15-24 years of age who attends a secondary or tertiary educational institution as a full-time student and for whom there is no identified partner or child of their own usually resident in the same household.
A chronic condition in which blood glucose levels become too high due to the body producing little or no insulin, or not responding to insulin properly.
Data on diabetes refers to persons who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had diabetes (including persons who were not ever told or not known), irrespective of whether the person considered their diabetes to be current or long-term. This definition was first used for estimates of diabetes in Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.003). Estimates of diabetes for all years in the National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001), are presented using this definition. In earlier publications prior to National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15, persons who had reported having diabetes, but that it was not current, were not included.
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.
In the National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001) selected diet drinks include diet soft drink, cordials, sports drinks or energy drinks. They are sweetened with artificial sweeteners rather than sugar. This definition includes diet soft drinks in ready to drink alcoholic beverages and excludes non-diet drinks, fruit juice, flavoured milk, water or flavoured water, or coffee/tea flavoured with sugar replacements like 'Equal'.
A disability or restrictive long-term health condition exists if a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder has lasted, or is expected to last, for six months or more, which restricts everyday activities.
A disability or restrictive long-term condition is classified by whether or not a person has a specific limitation or restriction. The specific limitation or restriction is further classified by whether the limitation or restriction is a limitation in core activities, or a schooling/employment restriction only.
There are five levels of activity limitation (profound, severe, moderate, mild and school/employment restriction only). These are based on whether a person needs help, has difficulty, or uses aids or equipment with any core activities (mobility, self-care and communication). A person's overall level of core activity limitation is determined by their highest level of limitation in any of these activities.
Equivalisation is a process whereby reported household income is adjusted to take account of the size and composition of the household. For further details see Household and family characteristics subchapter under Population characteristics of Users' Guide.
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.
Physical activity (exercise only) which consists of four domains, walking for transport, walking for fitness, sport or recreation, moderate exercise and vigorous exercise, which was undertaken in the last week.
Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.
The differentiation of families based on the presence or absence of couple relationships, parent-child relationships, child dependency relationships or other blood relationships, in that order of preference.
Heart, stroke and vascular conditions (Heart disease)
In the National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001), data on heart, stroke and vascular disease refers to persons who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had any of a range of circulatory conditions comprising:
and that their condition was current and long-term; that is, their condition was current at the time of interview and had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.
However, all persons who reported having ischaemic heart diseases cerebrovascular diseases, heart failure and rheumatic heart disease are included, even if they were not reported to be current and long-term at the time of interview. These conditions are automatically considered to be current and long term. Estimates of heart, stroke and vascular disease for 2007-08, 2011-12, 2014-15 and 2017-18 in this publication are presented using this definition. There is limited comparability between 2007-08 and previous years due to a change in derivation methodology in 2007-08.
High blood pressure
In the National Health Survey 2017-18, persons aged 18 years and over could consent to having a blood pressure measurement taken at the time of the interview. Participants who recorded a systolic blood pressure reading 140mmHg or greater were counted as having a high blood pressure reading. Note that this only referred to the measurement at the time of the interview and does not necessarily indicate a chronic condition. For this survey, this is distinguished from 'Hypertension' which was self reported as a long term health condition.
For more information, see hypertension.
High Sugar Levels
High sugar levels in blood or urine.
A household is defined as one or more persons, at least one of whom is at least 15 years of age, usually resident in the same private dwelling. In this survey, only households with at least one adult (aged 18 years and over) were included.
Reported as the sum of the personal cash incomes of all household members aged 15 years and over. Household income is available in dollar amounts and deciles/quintiles, in reported and equivalised form. For further details see Income Sources subchapter under Population Characteristics chapter of Users' Guide.
Hypertension (commonly known as high blood pressure) is a condition in which blood pressure in the arteries is elevated, requiring the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood throughout the body. Hypertension is a major risk factor for hypertensive heart disease, strokes, myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and chronic kidney disease as well as several other medical conditions.
Information on hypertension/high blood pressure was collected in the National Health Survey using two methods. These were:
In the National Health Survey 2017-18, the term 'Hypertension' refers specifically to respondents who had ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had hypertension or high blood pressure, and does not relate to the voluntary blood pressure measurement.
Tables in NHS publications previous to 2014-15 referred to hypertension as 'hypertensive disease'.
ICD-10 refers to the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems. The classification of long-term conditions most commonly used in output from the 2017-18 NHS was developed for use in this survey based on the ICD-10. See Appendix 2: Classification of Health Conditions for the content of the classifications.
Incidence refers to the number of new cases of a particular characteristic, such as cancer, which occur within a certain period. This differs from prevalence, which refers to the number of cases of a particular characteristic that are present in a population at one point in time.
Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage
This is one of four Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) compiled by 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. For further information about the indexes, see Census of Population and Housing: SEIFA, Australia, 2016.
Refers to people who identified themselves, or were identified by another household member, as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.
Ischaemic heart disease
A disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle.
A subset of symptoms including: problems or complaints about the kidneys, renal pain and renal colic (kidney stones).
Long sightedness (or hyperopia/hypermetropia) is a common condition of the eye where the light that comes into the eye focuses behind the retina, causing the image of a close object to be out of focus, but that of a distant object to be in focus. Glasses, contact lenses and laser techniques are used to correct long sightedness.
Long-term health condition
A medical condition (illness, injury or disability) which has lasted at least six months, or which the respondent expects to last for six months or more. Some reported conditions were assumed to be long-term, including asthma, arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, sight problems, rheumatic heart disease, heart attack, angina, heart failure and stroke. Diabetes, rheumatic heart disease, heart attack, angina, heart failure and stroke were also assumed to be current.
Margin of Error (MoE)
Margin of Error describes the distance from the population value that the sample estimate is likely to be within, and is specified at a given level of confidence. Confidence levels typically used are 90%, 95% and 99%. For example, at the 95% confidence level the MoE indicates that there are about 19 chances in 20 that the estimate will differ by less than the specified MoE from the population value (the figure obtained if all dwellings had been enumerated). For further information see Technical Note and Data Quality chapters of the Users' Guide.
Mental and behavioural conditions
Includes organic mental problems, alcohol and drug problems, mood (affective) disorders such as depression, anxiety related problems and other mental and behavioural problems.
Selected sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption was collected using the metric cup measurement. A metric cup is 250 millilitres in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Minerals are chemical elements required for a very wide variety of functions including cell function, muscle function, bone formation, hormone production and fluid balance. Some minerals are essential for health and are classified into major and trace elements according to the quantity required by the body.
Exercise for fitness, recreation, or sport which caused a moderate increase in heart rate or breathing.
National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS)
The 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey focused on collecting information on detailed dietary behaviour and food avoidance (including 24-hour dietary recall).
A neoplasm is a new growth of abnormal tissue (a tumour). Tumours can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancer). Cancer refers to several diseases and can affect most types of cells in various parts of the body.
Not in the labour force
Persons who are not employed or unemployed as defined, including persons who:
A condition that thins and weakens bone mineral density, generally caused by loss of calcium, which leads to increased risk of fracture.
Refers to exercise only. The 2014 Physical Activity Guidelines are based on Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. In the 2017-18 data cubes, 'any physical activity' refers to exercise and workplace activity. See also exercise and workplace activity.
Data was collected from respondents aged 18 years and over.
Self-assessed health status
A person's general assessment of their own health against a five point scale from excellent through to poor. Data was collected from respondents aged 15 years and over.
To determine whether a difference between two survey estimates is a real difference in the populations to which the estimates relate, or merely the product of different sampling variability, the statistical significance of the difference can be tested. This is particularly useful for interpreting apparent changes in estimates over time. The test is done by calculating the standard error of the difference between two estimates and then dividing the actual difference by the standard error of the difference. If the result is greater than 1.96, there are 19 chances in 20 that there is a real difference in the populations to which the estimates relate. For further information see Data quality chapter of Users' Guide.
Refers to the frequency of smoking of tobacco, including manufactured (packet) cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars and pipes, but excluding chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes (and similar) and smoking of non-tobacco products. Categorised as:
Data was collected from respondents aged 15 years and over.
Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFAs)
2013 NHMRC Australian Dietary Guidelines
Exercise for fitness, recreation or sport which caused a large increase in heart rate or breathing.
Vitamins are organic compounds found naturally in foods and are either fat or water soluble. They are required in small amounts. Vitamins enable the human body to function efficiently by regulating biochemical processes such as growth metabolism, cell reproduction, digestion, and oxidation of the blood.
Waist circumference is associated with an increased risk of metabolic complications associated with obesity. The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for Caucasian men and women are as follows:
Waist measurement guidelines, Adults
Data presented in the waist circumference chapter on people at 'Increased risk' of developing chronic disease includes people at 'Greatly increased risk', while Table 8 presents these categories separately.
Workplace physical activity
Physical activity undertaken in the workplace which consists of two domains; moderate and vigorous workplace activity, which was undertaken on a typical work day. This information was collected from persons aged 15 and over who worked in a workplace in the last week in a job, business, unpaid internship, cadetship or farm including a family business without pay.
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