How healthy is the typical Australian?


The typical Australian is a non-smoker and has never smoked, does 42 minutes of exercise every day, is overweight or obese and does not eat enough vegetables.

Data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) National Health Survey 2017-18 shows that more than half of Australians (56 per cent) thought they were in excellent or very good health, while 15 per cent were feeling in fair or poor health.

ABS Director of Health Statistics, Louise Gates, said the typical Australian male weighed 87kg and stood 175cm tall and was therefore overweight while the typical female weighed 72kg and was 161cm tall and was also overweight.

“On average, we were doing 42 minutes of exercise every day, which mostly consisted of walking for transport or walking for exercise (24.6 minutes), however we didn’t participate in sufficient strength and toning activities", Ms Gates said. "In addition, 44 per cent of us spent most of our work day sitting."

“More than half of us were eating the recommended daily intake of fruit but not enough vegetables, with only 7.5 per cent of adults eating the recommended daily serves of vegetables."

In good news, while 79 per cent of us consumed alcohol in the last year, we did so at safe levels.

Fewer than half of Australians (48 per cent) consumed either sugar sweetened or diet drinks and 47 per cent of Australians had at least one chronic health condition.

Further details are in National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001) from the ABS website

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 Media Team on or 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.
  • Exercise includes walking for fitness, recreation and sport, walking for transport, moderate exercise and vigorous exercise and excludes activity undertaken in the workplace.
  • 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.
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