4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jul 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/07/2012   
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

People who identify or are identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. May also include people identified as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

See also Indigenous.

Affective (mood) disorders

Disorders that involve mood disturbance. Examples include bipolar Affective disorder, Depressive episodes and Dysthymia.

Age-specific death rate

Age-specific death rates (ASDRs) are the number of deaths (occurred or registered) during the calendar year at a specified age per 100,000 of the estimated resident population of the same age at the mid-point of the year (30 June). Pro rata adjustment is made in respect of deaths for which the age of the deceased is not given.

Age standardised rate

An age standardised rate is calculated to remove the effects of different age structures when comparing populations over time. A standard age composition is used, in this case the age composition of the estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia at 30 June 2001. An age standardised rate is that which would have prevailed if the actual population had the standard age composition.

Alcohol consumption risk level

Alcohol consumption risk levels in the long-term were derived from the average daily consumption of alcohol by persons aged 15 years and over for 3 days of the week prior to interview and are grouped into relative risk levels as defined by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in 2001 as follows:

Alcohol risk level (a)

Consumption per day
Risk level Males Females

Low risk 50 mLs or less 25 mLs or less
Risky More than 50 mLs, up to 75 mLs More than 25 mLs, up to 50 mLs
High risk More than 75 mLs More than 50 mLs

(a) One standard drink contains 12.5 mLs of alcohol.

It should be noted that risk level as defined by the NHMRC is based on regular consumption levels of alcohol, whereas estimates of risk from the National Health Survey do not take into account whether consumption in the reference week was more, less or the same as usual.

The level of long-term risk is associated with regular daily patterns of drinking. Drinking status information was also collected for those who did not consume any alcohol in the 7 days prior to interview. The categories were:
  • Last consumed more than one week to less than 12 months ago
  • Last consumed 12 months or more ago
  • Never consumed.
Anxiety disorders

Disorders that involve feelings of tension, distress or nervousness. In the National Health Survey, the following anxiety disorders were collected; Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).


Arthritis is characterised by an inflammation of the joints often resulting in pain, stiffness, disability and deformity.


A chronic disease marked by episodes of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath associated with wide-spread narrowing of the airways within the lungs and obstruction of airflow. In the National Health Survey, to be current, symptoms of asthma or treatment for asthma must have occurred in the last 12 months prior to the survey.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Calculated from height and weight information, using the formula weight (kg) divided by the square of height (m). To produce a measure of the prevalence of underweight, normal weight, overweight or obesity in adults, BMI values are grouped according to the table below which allows categories to be reported against both the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines.

Body Mass Index, Adult

Underweight Less than 18.5
Normal range 18.5 to less than 20.0
20.0 to less than 25.0
Overweight 25.0 to less than 30.0
Obese 30.0 and greater

In the 2007-08 National Health Survey (NHS), separate BMI classifications were produced for children. BMI scores were created in the same manner described above but also took into account the age and sex of the child. There are different cut-offs for BMI categories (underweight/normal combined, overweight or obese) for male and female children. These categories differ to the categories used in the adult BMI classification and follow the scale provided in Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM and Dietz WH, Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey, BMJ 2000; 320. For a detailed list of the cut-offs used to calculate BMI for children see National Health Survey, 2007-08, Users' Guide, (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Burden of disease

See Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY).


See Neoplasm.Causes of death

The causes of death to be entered on the medical certificate of cause of death are all those diseases, morbid conditions or injuries which either resulted in or contributed to death, and the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced any such injuries. Underlying causes of death are classified to the International Classification of Diseases 9th and 10th Revision.

Core activities

Core activities are communication, mobility and self-care.

Current smoker

A respondent who reported at the time of interview that they smoked cigarettes, cigars or pipes, either daily or less frequently.


Death is the permanent disappearance of all evidence of life after birth has taken place. The definition excludes all deaths prior to live birth. For the purposes of the Deaths and Causes of Death collections of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a death refers to any death that occurs in, or en route to Australia and is registered with a state or territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Diabetes mellitus

A chronic condition in which blood glucose levels become too high due to the body producing little or no insulin, or not using insulin properly.


Disability is an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Disability (as collected) is the presence of a limitation, restriction or impairment due to a physical, emotional or nervous condition which had lasted or was likely to last six months or more.

Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY)

The DALY is a measure that combines information about the years of healthy life lost due to either premature mortality (relative to a standard life expectancy) or to years lived with a disability (here disability means any departure from full health, and includes conditions that range from the common cold to quadriplegia). It is an incidence-based measure.

The burden of disease can be quantified by DALYs, for example, one DALY represents one lost year of healthy life due to disability or premature death. The more DALYs, the greater the burden.

Drug induced deaths

Any death directly caused by an acute episode of poisoning or toxicity to drugs, including deaths from accidental overdoses, suicide and assault, and any death from an acute condition caused by habitual drug use. The term 'drug' refers to substances classified as drugs that may be used for medicinal or therapeutic purposes and those that produce a psychoactive effect excluding alcohol, tobacco and volatile solvents (e.g. petrol).Estimated Resident Population (ERP)

The official measure of the population of Australia is based on the concept of residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality or citizenship, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months.

External causes of death

Deaths due to causes external to the body (for example suicide, transport accidents, falls, poisoning etc).

Heart, stroke and vascular conditions

A subset of reported long-term conditions comprising the following:
  • Angina and other ischaemic heart diseases
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Heart failure
  • Oedema
  • Diseases of arteries, arterioles and capillaries.


Refers to the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems. The purpose of the ICD is to permit the systematic recording, analysis, interpretation and comparison of mortality and morbidity data collected in different countries or areas and at different times. The ICD, which is endorsed by the World health Organisation (WHO), is primarily designed for the classification of diseases and injuries with a formal diagnosis.

The classification of long-term conditions most commonly used in output from National Health Survey (NHS) was developed based on ICD-10.


The number of new cases of a particular characteristic, such as cancer, which occur within a certain period. This differs from prevalence, which refers to the number of cases of a particular characteristic that are present in a population at one point in time.


Refers to people who are identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. See also Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples.

Ischaemic heart disease

A disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle.Kessler-10 (K10)

See Psychological distress.

Leading causes of death

Leading causes of death are based on the total number of deaths attributed to specific causes. For further information on leading causes of death, see Causes of Death, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3303.0) Explanatory Notes 46-48 and Glossary.

Level of exercise

Based on frequency, intensity (i.e. walking, moderate exercise and vigorous exercise) and duration of exercise (for fitness, recreation or sport) in the two weeks prior to the interview. From these components, an exercise score was derived using factors to represent the intensity of the exercise:
  • 3.5 for walking
  • 5.0 for moderate exercise
  • 7.5 for vigorous exercise.

Scores were grouped into the following four categories:

Level of exercise


Very low (a) Score less than 100
Low Score of 100 to less than 1,600
Moderate Score of 1,600 to 3,200, or score of more than 3,200 but with less than 2 hours of vigorous exercise.
High Score of more than 3,200 plus 2 hours or more of vigorous exercise

(a) Includes no exercise.

Inadequate exercise levels are sedentary and low exercise levels. Sedentary refers to sitting in one place for extended periods of time.
Life expectancy

Life expectancy refers to the average number of additional years a person of a given age and sex might expect to live if the age-specific death rates of the given period continued throughout his/her lifetime.

Long-term health condition

A medical condition (illness, injury or disability) that has lasted at least six months, or which the respondent expects to last for six months or more. Some reported conditions were assumed to be long-term, including arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, rheumatic heart disease, heart attack, angina, heart failure and stroke.

Medicare services

Medicare is Australia’s universal health insurance scheme. Services include access to free treatment as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital, and free or subsidised treatment by medical practitioners including general practitioners, specialists, and participating optometrists or dentists (specified services only).

Mental health disorder

A mental health disorder (or mental illness) is a clinically recognisable set of symptoms or behaviours associated with distress and with interference with personal functions. Most diagnoses require criteria relating to severity and duration to be met.


Morbidity refers to ill health in an individual and to levels of ill health in a population or group.


See Death.


A neoplasm is a new growth of abnormal tissue (a tumour). Tumours can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancer). Cancer refers to several diseases and can affect most types of cells in various parts of the body.


Refers to people who don't identify themselves, or were not identified by another household member, as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Overweight or obesity

Overweight is defined by a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 and less than 30, while obesity is defined by a BMI greater than or equal to 30. BMI is body weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres. Calculations are based on self-reported height and weight and exclude persons for whom height and/or weight are unknown.Perinatal death

A death that is either a fetal death (i.e. a death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother as a product of conception of at least 20 completed weeks of gestation or with a birth weight of at least 400 grams), or a neonatal death (i.e. death of a live born baby within 28 completed days of birth).


The number of cases of a particular characteristic (e.g. a specific long-term condition such as cancer) that is present in a population at one point in time. This differs from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases of a particular characteristic occurring within a certain period.

Profound or severe core activity limitation

Under profound or severe core activity restriction the person: is unable to do, or needs help with, a core activity task (communication, mobility or self-care); or has difficulty understanding or being understood by family or friends; or can communicate more easily using sign language or other non-spoken forms of communication.

Psychological distress

Derived from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale-10 items (K10). This is a scale of non-specific psychological distress based on 10 questions about negative emotional states in the four weeks prior to interview. The K10 is scored from 10 to 50, with higher scores indicating a higher level of distress; low scores indicate a low level of distress. For the National Health Survey (NHS), scores are grouped as follows:
  • Low 10-15
  • Moderate 16-21
  • High 22-29
  • Very high 30-50.

Data are only collected from respondents aged 18 years and over.


See Level of exercise.Self-assessed body mass

Respondents reported assessment of themselves as being of acceptable weight, underweight or overweight.

Smoker status

The extent to which a person aged 15 years and over was smoking at the time of interview, referring to regular smoking of tobacco, including manufactured (packet) cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars and pipes, but excluding chewing tobacco and smoking of non-tobacco products. Categorised as:
  • Current daily smoker - a respondent who reported at the time of interview that they regularly smoked one or more cigarettes, cigars or pipes per day
  • Current smoker: other - a respondent who reported at the time of interview that they smoked cigarettes, cigars or pipes less than weekly, or at least once a week, but not daily
  • Ex-smoker - a respondent who reported they did not currently smoke, but had regularly smoked daily, or had smoked at least 100 cigarettes, or smoked pipes, cigars, etc at least 20 times in their lifetime
  • Never smoked - a respondent who reported they had never regularly smoked daily, and had smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and/or had smoked pipes, cigars, etc less than 20 times in their lifetime.
Sport and physical recreation

The question on sport and physical recreation participation did not prompt for particular activities and whether an activity was regarded as a sport or physical recreation was left to the opinion of the respondent. However, activities such as gardening, housework, manual labouring and other forms of occupational physical activity were excluded from the data.

Standardised death rate (SDR)

Standardised death rates (SDRs) enable the comparison of death rates between populations with different age structures by relating them to a standard population. The ABS standard populations relate to the years ending in 1 (e.g. 2001). The current standard population is all persons in the Australian population at 30 June 2001. SDRs are expressed per 1,000 or 100,000 persons. There are two methods of calculating standardised death rates:
  • The direct method - this is used when the populations under study are large and the age-specific death rates are reliable. It is the overall death rate that would have prevailed in the standard population if it had experienced, at each age, the death rates of the population under study.
  • The indirect method - this is used when the populations under study are small and the age-specific death rates are unreliable or not known. It is an adjustment to the crude death rate of the standard population to account for the variation between the actual number of deaths in the population under study and the number of deaths which would have occurred if the population under study had experienced the age-specific death rates of the standard population.

SDRs in this domain have been calculated using the direct method.

Substance Use disorder

Substance Use disorders include harmful use and/or dependence on drugs and/or alcohol. Survival to 85 years

The probability of survival to 85 years represents the proportion of survivors from birth to 85 years in a life table. Life tables are based on three years ending in the reference year of the table.