Higher rates of chronic health conditions in Tasmania


The rates of many chronic health conditions, including arthritis, asthma, cancer, heart, stroke and vascular disease and osteoporosis were higher in Tasmania in 2017-18 than the national rate, according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Health, Louise Gates, said the 2017-18 National Health Survey showed that while the older age structure of Tasmania (median age of 41 compared with 37 nationally) contributed to these differences, the difference for arthritis (20.3 per cent compared with 15.0 per cent) and asthma (12.9 per cent compared with 11.2 per cent) remained even after differences in age structures were taken into account.

“The survey also showed that adults in Tasmania were also more likely to be daily smokers and to be obese or overweight,” Ms Gates said.

“One in six (16.4 per cent) adults were daily smokers compared with just under one in seven (13.8 per cent) nationally and more than two thirds (70.9 per cent) of adults were overweight or obese compared with 67.0 per cent nationally.

“More positively, smoking rates in Tasmania have dropped nearly seven percentage points in a decade (from 23.3 per cent in 2007-08 to 16.4 per cent in 2017-18) and the number of young people (18-24 years) who have never smoked has increased since 2014-15 from 55.5 per cent to 68.9 per cent in 2017-18.

"More than one in six (17.1 per cent) adults aged 18 and over consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average, exceeding the lifetime risk guideline. This is similar to the 2014-15 rate of 18.6 per cent but a decline from 2011-12 when it was 22.7 per cent.," Ms Gates said.

The survey also showed more than half (52.5 per cent) of 18-64 year olds undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise in the week before the survey and this increased to 64.6 per cent when workplace physical activity was included.

For further information about these and related statistics see publication National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001), available for free download from the ABS website, www.abs.gov.au.

Media note

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our email notification service and get media releases or products sent to you on release.
  • The survey was conducted in all States and Territories and across urban, rural and remote areas of Australia (excluding very remote areas) from July 2017 to June 2018. The survey included around 21,000 people in over 16,000 private dwellings.
Back to top of the page