4384.0 - National Health Survey: Injuries, Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/11/2003   
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November 19, 2003
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Majority of injuries are caused by falls

Over 800,000 Australians reported being injured due to a fall in the four weeks leading up to their participation in the National Health Survey in 2001, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

The majority of these people were not seriously hurt and only 9% went to hospital as a result of their fall.

In the four weeks prior to participation, 468,000 people were injured by colliding with objects or being hit by something, 227,000 people reported being bitten or stung, and 55,000 people were attacked and injured by other people. When all the events leading to injury are included, the total number of people reporting injury was 2.25 million or 12% of all Australians.

These injuries included open wounds (44% of injured people), bruising (33%), dislocations, sprains, strains, torn muscles or ligaments (20%) burns and scalds (8%), fractures (4%), poisoning (2%), and concussion (1%). More than one-quarter (27%) of the injured were involved in leisure activities at the time of their injury, and just under half (49%) occurred in and around the home. Sports facilities or sports fields were the next most common location for injury (16%), with people who exercised at high or moderate levels reporting sporting injuries at higher rates than those who were sedentary or exercised at low levels.

People aged 18 years and over who drank at levels classified as high risk were more than twice as likely to have reported being injured than those who didn't drink.

Among the states and the ACT, people from Western Australia reported the highest percentage of injuries in the four weeks before interview (14%) and NSW the reported the lowest (11%). While the rate of injury in Victoria (12%) was similar to other states and the ACT, injured Victorians were less likely to have gone to hospital (5% of injured Victorians, compared to 9% of all injured Australians).

Approximately 2.26 million people (12% of all Australians) reported having one or more health conditions lasting or expected to last six months or more as a result of an injury at some point during their life. Almost two-thirds (65%) of these people reported having conditions of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, with back conditions the most common health problem of this nature reported.

Further details are in National Health Survey: Injuries, Australia (cat. no. 4384.0).