4812.0 - Health Risk Factors, Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2003   
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December 15, 2003
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australian men still risk preventable disease through smoking, drinking and poor diet

In 2001, Australian men aged 18 years and over were more likely than women to smoke, drink alcohol at risky levels, be overweight, and have a poor diet according to a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Over one-third (37%) of Australians aged 12 years and over did not eat adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables. Men aged 18 years and over who lived alone were particularly likely to not eat adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables (52%), when compared to all men (43%), and women who lived alone (36%).

However, men and women who lived alone were also the least likely to be overweight or obese (47% of men and 34% of women). An estimated 16% of men living alone drank at levels considered harmful to their long term health.

Nearly one-quarter of people (24%) aged 18 years and over were smokers, down from 28% in 1989–90. Most adults reported responsible and safe levels of alcohol consumption for their long-term health (89%).

People who were unemployed were more likely to smoke (40%) than employed people (26%). Unemployed men were more likely to smoke than unemployed women (46% and 32% respectively).

Smokers were more likely to consume alcohol at levels that risked their long term health if continued (17% of smokers), compared to ex-smokers (12%) and those who had never smoked (6%).

Approximately 44% of people aged 15 years and over were overweight or obese in 2001, an increase from 36% in 1989–90. More males over 15 years (52%) were overweight or obese than females (37%).

Of those men reporting excellent or very good health, 51% were overweight or obese, compared to 33% of women. Conversely, of those men who reported fair to poor health, 59% were overweight or obese compared to 45% of women.

Further details are in National Health Survey: Health Risk Factors, Australia (cat. no. 4812.0).