4373.0 - National Health Survey: Asthma and Other Respiratory Conditions, Australia, 1995  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/11/1998   
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November 11, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
One in three Australians with respiratory conditions - ABS

Around one in three Australians (37 per cent of the population) reported they had a respiratory condition according to a new Australian Bureau of Statistics publication, National Health Survey: Asthma and Other Respiratory Conditions, Australia, 1995, released today.

The most common respiratory condition was hayfever, which affected 14 per cent of the population, followed by asthma (11 per cent) and sinusitis (10 per cent). The overall rate for respiratory conditions was higher for females (39 per cent) than for males (36 per cent).

Asthma was more prevalent in younger age groups (less than 25 years), and highest in the 5 -14 years age group (19 per cent) where it was the most frequently reported respiratory condition for both boys and girls. The prevalence of asthma in young children living in households with at least one smoker was higher than in non-smoking households.

The prevalence of respiratory conditions for those born in Australia was 39 per cent, compared with 32 per cent for those born overseas.

Bronchitis and/or emphysema was the only respiratory condition that was more prevalent in older age groups, increasing from under 4 per cent for age groups under 45 years to 7 per cent for females and 15 per cent for males aged 75 years and over. Comparing age and sex standardised prevalence rates for adults, the rate of bronchitis and/or emphysema for smokers (9 per cent) was nearly twice that of ex-smokers (5 per cent) and three times that of those who had never smoked (3 per cent).

In 1996, bronchitis and/or emphysema accounted for 67 per cent of male and 53 per cent of female deaths due to respiratory conditions. Respiratory conditions together with cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung accounted for 13 per cent of all deaths. There were 10,298 deaths due to respiratory conditions and an additional 6,826 deaths due to cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung.

Full details are in National Health Survey: Asthma and Other Respiratory Conditions, Australia, 1995 (cat. no. 4373.0) available from ABS bookshops. A summary of findings from the publication is available on this site.