4363.0 - National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2017-18  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2019   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

Glossary

Definitions used in the National Health Survey (NHS) are not necessarily identical to those used for similar items in other collections.

Adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables

A balanced diet, including sufficient fruit and vegetables, reduces a person's risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The National Health and Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of serves of fruit and vegetables each day, depending on a person's age and sex, to ensure good nutrition and health. Adequacy of intake (consumption) is based on whether a respondent's reported usual daily intake in serves of fruit or vegetables meets or exceeds each recommendation. More information about the guidelines can be found under Usual daily intake of fruit and Usual daily intake of vegetables in this glossary.

Adult

A respondent aged 18 years or over.

Age standardisation

Age standardisation is a way of allowing comparisons between two or more populations with different age structures, in order to remove age as a factor when examining relationships between variables. For example, the age structure of the population of Australia is changing over time. As the prevalence of a particular health condition (for example, arthritis) may be related to age, any increase in the proportion of people with that health condition over time may be due to real increases in prevalence or to changes in the age structure of the population over time or to both. Age standardising removes the effect of age in assessing change over time or between different populations.

Proportions quoted in commentary in this publication are not age standardised, however, proportions presented in Tables 1 and 2 include age standardised rates. Data are age standardised to the 2001 Australian population.

Alcohol consumption risk level

Alcohol consumption risk levels in the National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001) have been assessed using the 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for the consumption of alcohol.

The 2009 lifetime risk guideline (guideline 1) was assessed using average daily consumption of alcohol for persons aged 15 years and over, derived from the type, brand, number and serving sizes of beverages consumed on the three most recent days of the week prior to interview, in conjunction with the total number of days alcohol was consumed in the week prior to interview.

The 2009 single occasion risk guideline (guideline 2) was assessed using questions on the number of times in the last 12 months a person's consumption exceeded specified levels.

The NHMRC drinking guidelines provide two universal guidelines for adults, one for children and young people and one for pregnant and breast feeding women. The following table outlines the risk level for each group. The NHMRC drinking guidelines advise that for anyone under the age of 18, not consuming alcohol is the safest option. However this population group has been assessed in the NHS against the universal guidelines for adults, that is guideline 1 and 2. This allows an assessment of the levels of risky drinking for this age group for both single occasion and lifetime risk.

2009 NHMRC Guidelines(a)(b)

Level of risk

Does not exceed guideline
Exceeds guideline

Guideline 1 - Lifetime risk
up to and including 2 standard drinks
more than 2 standard drinks
Guideline 2 - Single occasion risk
up to and including 4 standard drinks
more than 4 standard drinks (c)
Guideline 3 - Children and young people
No drinking is the safest option
Alcohol consumed
Guideline 4 - Pregnant and breast feeding women
No drinking is the safest option
Alcohol consumed

(a) One standard drink contains 12.5 mLs of alcohol.
(b) Guidelines relate to both males and females.
(c) On at least one occasion in the last 12 months.


Alcohol consumption status information was also collected for persons who did not consume any alcohol in the 7 days prior to interview, categorised as:
    • Last consumed more than one week to less than 12 months ago;
    • Last consumed 12 months or more ago; and
    • Never consumed.

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

Arthritis is characterised by an inflammation of the joints often resulting in pain, stiffness, disability and deformity.

Asthma

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.

Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC)

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 Remoteness Structure for the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2006 and the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) 2016, has 5 categories based on an aggregation of geographical areas which share common characteristics of remoteness, determined in the context of Australia as a whole. The criteria for these categories are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA). For more details, see Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia definition above and the ASGC page on the ABS website.

Australian Dietary Guidelines

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:

    • Promote health and wellbeing
    • Reduce the risk of diet-related conditions
    • Reduce the risk of chronic disease.

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:
    • National Health Survey (NHS) 2011-12
    • National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) 2011-12
    • National Health Measures Survey (NHMS) 2011-12.

Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines

The 2014 Guidelines recommend that:
    • Young people (13-17 years) accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday, from a variety of activities including some vigorous.
    • Adults (18-64 years) should be active most days of the week, accumulate 150 to 300 minutes moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity (or an equivalent combination each week), and do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
    • Older Australians (65 years and over) should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
For more information, see Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.

Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) classifications

The ARTG identification numbers fall into two different types of classifications:
    • AUST R medicines - these include all prescription medications and many over the counter products such as those used for pain relief, coughs and colds and antiseptic creams
    • AUST L medicines - these are much lower risk self-medication products which include sunscreens, vitamins, minerals, and herbal and homoeopathic products.

Back problems

'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.

Blood pressure

See High blood pressure, Diastolic blood pressure and Systolic blood pressure.

Bodily pain

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

CategoryRange

UnderweightLess than 18.50
Normal range18.50 —24.99
Overweight25.00 — 29.99
Obese I30.00 — 34.99
Obesity class II35.00 — 39.99
Obesity class III40.00 or more


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.

Child

A person aged 0-17 years.

Chronic conditions

Tables 1, 2, 18 and 19 present data on a subset of long-term health conditions, referred to as chronic diseases. These consist of:
    • Arthritis;
    • Asthma;
    • Back problems (dorsopathies);
    • Cancer (malignant neoplasms);
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
    • Diabetes mellitus;
    • Heart, stroke and vascular disease;
    • Kidney disease;
    • Mental and behavioural conditions; and
    • Osteoporosis,

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.

Comorbidity

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.

Conditions

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

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.

Deafness

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:
    • British, Commonwealth and Allied forces veterans who served in conflicts in which Australia was involved.
    • Former serving members (including reservists and cadets).
    • Current serving members of the ADF.
    • Partner/Spouse of an eligible member/veteran.
    • Widow/Widower of an eligible member/veteran.
    • Children of an eligible member/veteran.
    • Police officers who served in a declared peacekeeping force.

Dependent children

There are three types of child identified during family coding:
    • Child under 15
    • Dependent student; and
    • Non-dependent child.
Children aged under 15 years and dependent students are together referred to as dependent children.

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.

Diabetes mellitus

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.

Diet drinks

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'.

Disability status

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.

Equivalised income

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.

Exercise

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.

Family

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.

Family composition

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.

Family composition of household

Refers to the composition of the household to which the respondent belongs to. In this publication households are categorised as persons living alone, couple only, couple with child(ren), and other households.

Hayfever and allergic rhinitis

An allergic inflammation of the nasal airways occurring when an allergen, such as pollen or dust, is inhaled by an individual with a sensitised immune system. When caused specifically by grass pollens it is known as 'hayfever'.

Health Literacy

The ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health.

Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ)

A multi-dimensional health literacy assessment tool for surveys, evaluation and service improvement. It focuses on collecting information about the inclusive and equitable access to health information that empowers people to undertake action to improve their own health, as well as the health of their families and communities.

Health risk factors

Specific lifestyle and related factors impacting on health, including:

    • Tobacco smoking;
    • Alcohol consumption;
    • Sugar sweetened and diet drinks;
    • Exercise;
    • Body Mass Index;
    • Waist circumference;
    • Dietary behaviour; and
    • Blood pressure.

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:
    • Ischaemic heart diseases (angina, heart attack and other ischaemic heart diseases);
    • Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases);
    • Oedema;
    • Heart failure; and
    • Diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries.

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.

Household

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.

Household income

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

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:
    • a question on whether respondents had ever been told by a doctor or nurse they had any circulatory conditions (including hypertension or high blood pressure), and
    • for adults aged 18 years and over, the taking of blood pressure measurements. A person was defined as having high blood pressure if their systolic/diastolic blood pressure was equal to or greater than 140/90 mmHg. Numbers of people with measured high blood pressure do not include people who have high blood pressure but are managing their condition through the use of blood pressure medications.

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

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

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.

Indigenous

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.

Kidney disease

A subset of symptoms including: problems or complaints about the kidneys, renal pain and renal colic (kidney stones).

Long sightedness

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.

Metric cup

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

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.

Moderate exercise

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).

Neoplasm

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:
    • Are retired;
    • No longer work;
    • Do not intend to work in the future;
    • Are permanently unable to work; or
    • Have never worked and never intend to work.

Osteoporosis

A condition that thins and weakens bone mineral density, generally caused by loss of calcium, which leads to increased risk of fracture.

Physical activity

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.

Prevalence

The number of cases, of a particular characteristic (e.g. a specific long-term condition such as cancer), that are present in a population at one point in time. This differs from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases of a particular characteristic occurring within a certain period.

Proxy

A proxy is a person who answers the survey questions when the person selected for the interview is incapable of answering for themselves. Reasons the selected person may not be able to answer for themselves include illness/injury or language difficulties. A proxy also answers on behalf of a child under 15 years of age; or for a child aged 15-17 years when parental consent is not given to interview them personally. For further information see the Personal and Proxy Interviews section of Data Collection (see future release of the user guide).

Psychological distress

Derived from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). This is a scale of non-specific psychological distress based on 10 questions about negative emotional states in the past 30 days. The K10 is scored from 10 to 50, with higher scores indicating a higher level of distress; low scores indicate a low level of distress. In this publication, scores are grouped as follows:

    • Low levels of distress (10-15);
    • Moderate levels of distress (16-21);
    • High levels of distress (22-29); and
    • Very high levels of distress (30-50).

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.

Significance testing

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.

Smoker status

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:
    • Current daily smoker - a respondent who reported at the time of interview that they regularly smoked one or more cigarettes, cigars or pipes per day;
    • Current smoker - Other - a respondent who reported at the time of interview that they smoked cigarettes, cigars or pipes, less frequently than daily;
    • Ex-smoker - a respondent who reported that they did not currently smoke, but had regularly smoked daily, or had smoked at least 100 cigarettes, or smoked pipes, cigars, etc at least 20 times in their lifetime; and
    • Never smoked - a respondent who reported they had never regularly smoked daily, and had smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and had smoked pipes, cigars, etc less than 20 times.

Data was collected from respondents aged 15 years and over.

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFAs)

Four Indexes compiled by the ABS following each population Census. Each index summarises different aspects of the socio-economic condition of areas. The Index of Disadvantage is the SEIFA index most frequently used in health analysis.

The Indexes available for use with 2017-18 NHS data are those compiled from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. For further information about the indexes, see Census of Population and Housing: SEIFA, Australia, 2016.

Standard drink

A standard drink of alcohol in Australia is defined as containing 12.5 mLs of alcohol. See Alcohol Guidelines: Reducing the Health Risks for more information.

Stratification

Stratification involves dividing a population or dataset into like groups and can be used in sampling or statistical analysis.

Sugar sweetened drinks

In the National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001), sugar sweetened drinks include soft drinks, cordials, sports drinks or energy drinks. This includes soft drinks in ready to drink alcoholic beverages. Excludes fruit juice, flavoured milk, 'sugar free' drinks, or coffee/hot tea. This was reported on usual consumption per day/week.

Note the inclusions and collection methodology are slightly different to the definition of 'Sugar sweetened beverages', previously published in the Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Foods and nutrients, 2011-12 (4364.0.55.007). 'Sugar sweetened beverages' also include fruit and vegetable drinks that contain added sugar. Data is based on 24-hour dietary recall information.

Supplements

For the purpose of the NHS, dietary supplements refer to products defined as Complementary Medicines under the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 and that are not intended for inhalation or use on the skin. They include products containing ingredients that are nutrients, such as multi-vitamin or fish oil products.

Systolic blood pressure

Measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps blood during each beat. It is the higher number of the blood pressure reading.

Unemployed

Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed and actively looking for work in the four weeks prior to the survey, and were available to start work in the week prior to the survey.

Usual daily intake of fruit

Refers to the number of serves of fruit (excluding drinks and beverages) usually consumed each day, as reported by the respondent. A serve is approximately 150 grams of fresh fruit or 50 grams of dried fruit. Adequate daily fruit intake refers to whether the respondent met the minimum number of serves as recommended in the NHMRC 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. Juices were excluded.

Usual daily intake of vegetables

Refers to the number of serves of vegetables (excluding drinks and beverages) usually consumed each day, as reported by the respondent. A serve is approximately half a cup of cooked vegetables (including legumes) or one cup of salad vegetables - equivalent to approximately 75 grams. Adequate daily vegetable intake refers to whether the respondent met the minimum number of serves as recommended in the NHMRC 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. Tomatoes were included as vegetables while juices were excluded.

2013 NHMRC Australian Dietary Guidelines

Age group (years)

Recommended serves per day
2-3
4-8
9-11
12-13
14-18
19-50
51-70
70 years and over

Fruit
Males
1
1.5
2
2
2
2
2
2
Females
1
1.5
2
2
2
2
2
2
Vegetables
Males
2.5
4.5
5
5.5
5.5
6
5.5(a)
5
Females
2.5
4.5
5
5
5
5
5
5

(a) Rounded up to 6 serves in published data.

Vigorous exercise

Exercise for fitness, recreation or sport which caused a large increase in heart rate or breathing.

Vitamins

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

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

MenWomen

Not at riskWaist circumference less than 94 cmWaist circumference less than 80 cm
Increased riskWaist circumference more than or equal to 94 cmWaist circumference more than or equal to 80 cm
Greatly increased riskWaist circumference more than or equal to 102 cmWaist circumference more than or equal to 88 cm


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.