Lower rates of chronic conditions in the NT


The Northern Territory recorded lower rates of some chronic conditions including arthritis, heart, stroke and vascular disease, and mental and behavioural conditions than national rates in 2017-18, but had higher rates of daily smokers and risky alcohol consumption, 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 younger age structure of the Northern Territory (median age of 34 compared with 37 nationally) contributed to these differences, the difference for arthritis (9.2 per cent compared with 15.0 per cent nationally); heart, stroke and vascular disease (2.0 per cent compared with 4.8 per cent nationally) and mental and behavioural conditions (15.9 per cent compared with 20.1 per cent nationally) remained even after differences in age structure were taken into account.

“The survey also showed that although the Northern Territory experienced the largest fall in daily smoking rates in Australia, from 35.6 per cent in 1995 to 19.6 per cent in 2017-18, the proportion of daily smokers remained higher than the national rate of 13.8 per cent,” Ms Gates said.

“Around two-thirds (65.2 per cent) of adults in the Northern Territory were overweight or obese in 2017-18, with men more likely to be overweight or obese than women (71.7 per cent and 57.7 per cent respectively).

"More than one in five (21.4 per cent) adults in the Northern Territory exceeded the lifetime risk guideline for alcohol consumption (drinking more than two standard drinks per day on average) in 2017-18, higher than the national rate of 16.1 per cent.

“There were also higher rates of adults exceeding the single occasion risk guidelines (drinking more than four standard drinks on a single occasion) at 49.1 per cent compared with the national rate (42.1 per cent),” Ms Gates said.

“In more positive news, more than half (53.0 per cent) of adults (18-64 years) undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise in the last week, excluding workplace physical activity and this increased to 64.3 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).
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  • 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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