4841.0 - Facts at your Fingertips: Health, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/07/2012  First Issue
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25 July 2012
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

We're heavier, taller and in more pain
The average Australian is a little heavier and taller than a decade ago, according to health reports released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

On average, men and women aged 18 and over were both around 3 kilograms heavier in 2007–08 than they were in the mid-nineties. However the height increase of men was almost twice that of women, at 1.2 cm for men and 0.7 cm for women.

In 2007-08 over half of all Australians (55% of men and 64% of women) had a waistline measurement that is considered by health experts to increase their risk of health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Another new report from the 2007–08 National Health Survey shows that 10% of Australian adults experienced severe or very severe pain in the last month, with this rate increasing over time (up from 7% in 1995).

Chronic pain was particularly common for older people, people with a severe disability, or with multiple long-term health conditions.

Chronic pain was also related to mental health. Those with severe pain were much more likely to report high levels of psychological distress (31%) than those without pain (5%).

More details can be found in Facts at your Fingertips: Health.

Media notes:

The National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines on waist size are outlined in Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults - at risk waistline size is defined as being greater than or equal to 94 cm for men and 80 cm for women.

Psychological distress is measured using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. High levels of distress indicate that feelings of anxiety or depression are being experienced on a regular basis, whereas low levels of distress indicate these feelings are experienced less frequently or not at all.

When reporting ABS statistics, please attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source.