4715.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2018-19 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2019   
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Diet, weight and exercise (adult)


Fruit and vegetable consumption

A balanced diet, including sufficient fruit and vegetables, reduces a person's risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Fruit and vegetable consumption is assessed using the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines [1].

Almost four in 10 (39%) people aged 15 years and over met the guidelines for the recommended number of serves of fruit per day.

The proportion of people who met the fruit guidelines was:

    • lower than in 2012–13 (43%)
    • higher for females (44%) than males (35%)
    • about the same for people living in non-remote areas (39%) and remote areas (42%).

The proportion of people living in remote areas who met the fruit guidelines declined from 49% in 2012–13 to 42%.


Consumed recommended number of serves of fruit per day, by remoteness, 2012–13 and 2018–19 — people aged 15 years and over

Graph shows between 2012–13 and 2018–19 the proportion of people who met the daily fruit guidelines decreased for those living in remote areas (49% to 42%) and remained about  the same in non-remote areas (41% and 39%).
(a) The difference between 2012–13 and 2018–19 is not statistically significant.

Source(s): 2012-13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey and 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey


Four per cent of people aged 15 years and over met the guidelines for the recommended number of serves of vegetables per day.

The proportion of people who met the vegetable guidelines was:
    • the same as in 2012–13 (both 4%)
    • three times higher for females (6%) than males (2%)
    • the same for people living in non-remote areas and remote areas (both 4%).

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Sugar sweetened and diet drinks have little nutritional value and are not an essential part of a healthy diet. High and frequent intake of these drinks may lead to adverse health outcomes, such as dental caries, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and an increased risk of weight gain.

Around seven in 10 (71%) people aged 15 years and over usually consumed sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once a week.

The proportion of people who usually consumed sugar sweetened or diet drinks was:
    • higher for males (75%) than females (67%)
    • higher for people living in remote areas (77%) than non-remote areas (69%)
    • lowest for those aged 45–54 years (63%) and 55 years and over (49%), compared with around 80% for people aged less than 45 years [2].

The proportion of people aged 15 years and over who usually consumed sugar sweetened drinks (61%) was more than three times higher than those who usually consumed diet drinks (19%) at least once a week. Around one-quarter (24%) of people usually consumed sugar sweetened drinks daily, and 6% consumed diet drinks daily.

Weight

Being overweight or obese increases a person's risk of developing long-term health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, while being underweight can also be a health risk factor for some people.

Body Mass Index is an index of weight-for-height, used to classify people as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.

Based on their measured height and weight:
    • around seven in 10 (71%) people aged 15 years and over were overweight or obese — almost three in 10 (29%) were overweight and more than four in 10 (43%) were obese
    • one-quarter (25%) of people were in the normal weight range
    • 4% of people were underweight.

The proportion of people who were obese was higher for females (45%) than for males (40%). However, there were no significant differences in the proportion of males and females who were:
    • overweight (31% compared with 27%)
    • normal weight (26% compared with 24%)
    • underweight (3% compared with 5%).

The proportion of people who were overweight/obese was:
    • higher than in 2012–13 (71% compared with 66%)
    • more than double (71%) the proportion of people who were underweight/normal weight (29%)
    • higher for people living in non-remote areas (73%) than in remote areas (64%).

The increase between 2012–13 and 2018–19 was driven by the proportion of people who were overweight or obese increasing from 67% to 73% in non-remote areas.


Overweight/obese(a), by remoteness, 2012–13 and 2018–19 — people aged 15 years and over

Graph shows between 2012–13 and 2018–19 the proportion of overweight or obese people increased for those living in non-remote areas (67% to 73%) and remained about the same in remote areas (61% and 64%).

(a) Body Mass Index category, based on measured height and weight. (b) The difference between 2012–13 and 2018–19 is not statistically significant.

Source(s): 2012-13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey and 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey


The proportion of people who were overweight or obese increased with age from 15–17 years (42%) until it steadied at around 80% for people aged 35–44 years and over [3].

Waist circumference

Waist circumference is a commonly used measure of whether a person is of a healthy weight. It provides a good estimate of body fat and, in conjunction with Body Mass Index, can indicate a person's potential risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Around seven in 10 (71%) people aged 18 years and over had a measured waist circumference that put them at increased risk of developing chronic disease [4].

The proportion of people with a measured waist circumference that put them at increased risk of developing chronic disease was:
    • higher for females (81%) than males (60%)
    • highest for people aged 55 years and over (86%).


Increased risk waist circumference(a), by age and sex
Graph shows that for each age group a higher proportion of females than males had a measured waist circumference that placed them at increased risk of developing chronic disease.
(a) A waist measurement of 94 centimetres (cm) or more for men or 80 cm or more for women.

Source(s): 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey


Physical activity (non-remote areas only)

The benefits of regular physical activity include reducing the risk of health conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain forms of cancer, depression and some injuries [5]. In addition, physical activity is an important contributor for achieving and maintaining a healthy body mass.

Physical activity is assessed based on an interpretation of Department of Health guidelines [6]. To meet the 2014 guidelines, people needed to do varying combinations of some or all of the following physical activities, depending on their age:
    • walking for transport
    • walking for fitness, recreation or sport
    • moderate intensity exercise
    • vigorous intensity exercise
    • strength or toning activities.

Almost nine in 10 (89%) people aged 15 years and over did not meet the physical activity guidelines for their age. There were no significant differences by sex or by age group.

More than two in 10 (22%) people had done no physical activity at all in the last week.

The proportion of males (20%) and females (23%) who had done no physical activity was about the same.


Footnotes
1. See Assessing health risk factors (appendix) for more information about how fruit and vegetable consumption was assessed using these guidelines.
2. The differences between people aged 15–17 years, 18–24 years, 25–34 years and 35–44 years were not statistically significant.
3. The differences between people aged 35–44 years, 45–54 years and 55 years and over were not statistically significant.
4. A waist measurement of 94 centimetres (cm) or more for men or 80 cm or more for women.
5. Department of Health, Physical Activity, 2019, <http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/phy-activity>; last accessed 15/11/2019.
6. See Assessing health risk factors (appendix) for more information about how physical activity was assessed using these guidelines.