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Almost one in five persons aged 18 years and over (19%) were current daily smokers in 2007-08, down from 21% in 2004-05. Of persons aged 15 years and over, 18% were daily smokers, 2% smoked less often than once a day, 29% were ex-smokers, and 52% reported that they had never smoked. More males than females were current smokers (22% and 18% respectively). For males the prevalence of smoking was highest for those aged 25-34 years (33%), while for females the highest prevalence of smoking occurred across a wide age range (22% each for age groups 18-24 years, 25-34 years, 35-44 years and 45-54 years).
Persons were classified to a health risk level (low risk, risky, or high risk) based on their estimated average daily consumption of alcohol during the previous week. Of those males and females who drank alcohol in the previous week (59% of the total population), 21% did so at a risky or high risk level.
Males aged 25-34 years reported the highest proportion of drinking at risky and high risk levels (17%). For females the proportions drinking at risky and high risk levels were highest for age groups 18-24 years and 45-54 years (both 14%).
In 2007-08, 65% of respondents aged 15 years or more had exercised for fitness, recreation or sport during the two weeks prior to interview.
Almost half (48%) of respondents aged 15 years or more reported they walked for exercise in the two weeks prior to interview, 36% did some form of moderate exercise (exercise which caused a moderate increase in heart rate or breathing) and 15% did vigorous exercise (exercise which caused a large increase in heart rate or breathing). Females were more likely to walk for exercise than males (51% compared with 44%) while males were more likely than females to do moderate exercise (38% compared with 33%) and vigorous exercise (19% compared with 11%). Moderate and vigorous exercise were most common among younger age groups while the highest proportions walking for exercise were recorded in the 45-54 year, 55-64 year and 65-74 year age groups (around 51%).
The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australia recommend exercise of at least a moderate level (including brisk walking), most days of the week, for a total of 30 minutes or more on each of those days, and with each exercise session lasting 10 minutes or more. Results of the NHS cannot be assessed directly in relation to these recommendations. However, the survey did find that 24% of those who exercised at a moderate level, and 21% of those who exercised at a vigorous level, exercised 7 times or more in the previous two weeks. Of those respondents who reported doing moderate or vigorous exercise, 83% and 87% respectively reported the average duration of each session was 30 minutes or more. Of those who walked for exercise, 37% did so 7 times or more in the last 2 weeks, and 85% did so for periods of 30 minutes or more on average.
BODY MASS INDEX
For the first time since the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) in 1995, the 2007-08 NHS measured the hip and waist circumference, height and weight of respondents aged 5 years and over, as well as seeking self-reported data for height and weight from persons aged 15 years and over in line with previous surveys. Excluding those for whom height or weight data were not available, measured Body Mass Index (BMI) results from the survey show 25% of persons aged 18 years and over to be obese, 37% overweight, 37% normal weight and 2% underweight. The highest rate of overweight/obesity was in the 65-74 year age group, at 75%. More adult males (68%) were overweight or obese than adult females (55%).
When compared with measured results from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey (NNS), the proportion of persons aged 18 years and over who were classified as overweight or obese has increased. Excluding those for whom height or weight data were not available, the proportion of males classified as overweight or obese based on actual measurements rose from 64% in 1995 to 68% in 2007-08. The increase over this time for females was from 49% to 55%.
For children aged 5-17 years in 2007-08, 25% were classified as overweight or obese, comprised of 17% classified as overweight and 8% as obese. Proportions of overweight or obese were similar for both boys and girls at 26% and 24%, however the proportion of boys who were obese (10%) was higher than the proportion of girls (6%).
Self-reported BMI results from the survey show that 21% of persons aged 18 years and over were classified as obese, 35% overweight, 42% normal weight and 2% as underweight. The highest rate of overweight/obesity was in the 55-64 year age group at 67%. More males (63%) were overweight or obese than females (48%).
Based on self-reported data, the proportion who were classified as overweight/obese has been steadily increasing from 50% in 2001 to 54% in 2004-05 and 56% in 2007-08.
Both male and female adults generally underestimated their weight with 68% of males and 55% of females being classified as overweight or obese based on actual measurements compared to self-reported data, 63% and 48% respectively.
Information was collected in the survey about the usual intake of fruit and vegetables by people aged 5 years or more, and about types of milk they consumed (as an indicator of fat intake). Some care should be taken in interpreting the data on fruit and vegetable intake due to the difficulties respondents had in estimating the quantities consumed.
Survey results for 2007-08 show that females aged 15 years and over consumed more fruit and vegetables overall than their male counterparts. Of persons aged 15 years and over, 56% of females and 46% of males met the recommended daily intake of fruit, while 10% of females and 7% of males met the recommended daily intake of vegetables. Females were also more likely to meet the recommended daily intake of both fruit and vegetables (8%), compared with 5% of males. The highest proportion of persons aged 15 years and over who usually consumed the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables was recorded in the 65 years and older age group (10%), compared with 4% for people aged 18 to 34 years.
Almost all children aged 5-7 years (98%) and 8-11 years (99%) met their recommended intake of one serve of fruit, but this number dropped to 23% of children aged 12-15 years and 18% of children aged 16-17 years where three serves of fruit are considered adequate. The majority of children aged 5-7 years met the recommended daily intake of two serves of vegetables (57%) whereas a third (33%) of children aged 8-11 years met their recommended intake of 3 serves of vegetables. The proportion of older children meeting their recommended intake of four serves of vegetables dropped dramatically, to 15% of children aged 12-15 years and 16% of children aged 16-17 years.
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