4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2013   
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Contents >> Health related actions >> Other actions for selected conditions



This topic refers to information collected about condition-specific actions that respondents may have taken in relation to certain long-term condition(s). The actions described here differ from the generic actions described in the ‘Actions for specific conditions’ section of this Users' Guide.


Some questions about actions taken were asked only of respondents with a particular condition, while other questions were asked of all persons in the NHS and of other subsets of persons. These are described below.


Respondents were asked about the following condition-specific actions.


Within the Asthma module, the following information was collected.

  • whether their asthma had got worse or out of control in the last 12 months and if so whether the respondent went to a hospital or emergency department;
  • whether the respondent had a written action plan; that is, written instructions of what to do if their asthma becomes worse or out of control;
  • whether the respondent had been woken by asthma or wheezing in the last 4 weeks; and
  • the number of times in the last 4 weeks the respondent's asthma interfered with daily activities.

Heart and circulatory conditions

Within the Heart and Circulatory conditions module, the following information was collected.
  • Whether the respondent takes aspirin on a daily basis and if so, whether this was advised by their doctor. These questions were asked of respondent 18 years and over.
  • Whether the respondent had had their cholesterol checked, in the last 5 years and in the last 12 months. This question was asked of respondents aged 18-44 years with a heart or circulatory condition, and of all respondents aged 45 years and over.
  • Whether the respondent's blood pressure had been checked, in the last 2 years and in the last 12 months, and who usually performs their blood pressure checks. This question was asked of respondents with a heart or circulatory condition and, of all respondents aged 18 years and over whether they had a heart or circulatory condition or not.

Diabetes/High Sugar Levels

Within the Diabetes/High Sugar Levels module, the following information was collected.
  • Whether any parent(s) or sibling(s) of the respondent has ever been told they have diabetes. This question was asked of all respondents, whether they had diabetes or not.
  • Whether the respondent had been screened for diabetes in the last 3 years. This question was asked if a respondent reported a heart or circulatory condition, or was aged 50 years and over and did not have diabetes or high sugar levels.

Persons with diabetes were asked:
  • frequency of blood glucose checks in the last 12 months;
  • frequency of foot checks in the last 12 months;
  • whether they were currently taking insulin every day, and if so, the age at which they started taking insulin on a daily basis;
  • whether they were currently following changed eating patterns or diet due to diabetes/high sugar levels;
  • self-management actions taken for diabetes which could include:
    • losing weight;
    • exercising on most days;
    • taking vitamin or mineral supplements;
    • taking natural or herbal treatments; and,
    • other (unspecified) actions.
  • whether they had had an HbA1c test done in the last 12 months;
  • time since last consulted an eye specialist/optometrist; and
  • whether any sight conditions reported were caused by diabetes.


Persons with arthritis, osteoporosis and/or osteopenia were asked whether they had undertaken any of the following self-management actions in the last 2 weeks:
  • weight/strength/resistance training;
  • obtaining and/or using physical aids for home or work;
  • water therapy;
  • massage;
  • changing eating patterns/diet;
  • losing weight;
  • exercising on most days; and,
  • other (unspecified) actions.

Persons with osteoporosis and/or osteopenia were asked:
  • whether they had ever had their bone mineral density tested, and if yes, whether the test had been taken in the last 2 years.

Mental and behavioural conditions

Persons with a mental or behavioural condition(s) were asked:
  • whether they had taken any of the following medications in the last 2 weeks:
    • sleeping tablets or capsules;
    • tablets or capsules for anxiety or nerves;
    • tranquillisers;
    • antidepressants;
    • mood stabilisers; and,
    • other medications for mental health.

Respondents were also asked the length of time and frequency they had been taking the above medications.


All persons, whether they had cancer or not, were asked:
  • whether they, or someone else, regularly check their skin for changes in freckles and moles; and
  • whether they had ever been tested for any type of cancer, and if so, if it was in the last 2 years. If they had been tested, they were asked for the type of cancer they had been tested for:
    • for males, bowel cancer, prostate cancer or other; and
    • for females, bowel cancer, breast cancer (that is, had a mammogram) or other.

Persons who had ever been told that they had cancer were asked:
  • whether they were currently receiving treatment for the cancer.

Data items

Data items and related output categories for this topic will be available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following:
  • as with other aspects of health behaviour, some respondents may have answered some questions in a way that they felt presented their behaviour as more responsible or acceptable than was actually the case. (e.g. in relation to frequency of testing blood glucose levels). The extent of such reporting biases have not been investigated for this survey.

Comparability with 2007-08

Most data items are considered directly comparable between the 2011-12 and 2007-08 surveys. However, some items listed in this section were new to 2011-12 and will not have comparable items from previous surveys.

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