4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/06/2013   
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Contents >> Health risk factors


A range of genetic, social, economic and environmental factors are recognised as increasing the risk of developing a particular health condition. Specific lifestyle and related factors which have been identified as negatively impacting health include:

  • being overweight or obese
  • smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • poor diet and nutrition
  • lack of physical activity.

Health risk factor topics included in the 2011-12 NHS and NNPAS were:
  • tobacco smoking
  • physical activity (15 years and over for NHS and 18 years and over for NNPAS)
  • body mass and physical measurements (e.g. height, weight and waist circumference)
  • dietary behaviours
  • blood pressure.

Health risk factor topics specific to the 2011-12 NHS were:
  • sedentary behaviour
  • alcohol consumption
  • family stressors.

Health risk factor topics specific to the 2011-12 NNPAS were:
  • physical activity (2-4 years and 5-17 years)
  • sedentary behaviour (2-17 years and 18 years and over)
  • household rules and screen-based equipment
  • sleep
  • pedometer steps
  • 24 hour dietary recall (Nutrition)
  • food security.

Most of the specific risk factors covered have been addressed in previous ABS Health Surveys, either at national or State/Territory levels. Major changes in the coverage of risk factors between the 2011-12 NHS and the 2007-08 NHS are summarised in the table below.


Topic Measurement

Smoking Directly comparable
Alcohol consumption Similar, with additional questions in 2011-12 added for the 2009 NHMRC guidelines
ExerciseSimilar, but 2011-12 only asks questions about the last week
Height, weight, waist circumference and BMI Directly comparable
Dietary indicators (Consumption of milk, fruit, vegetables and salt) Similar, with additional questions in 2011-12 regarding salt use
Family stressors Directly comparable (known as Personal stressors in 2007-08)
Blood pressure Not collected in 2007-08

Where appropriate to the survey vehicle and consistent with the data requirements of users, similar methodologies were employed in the 2011-12 surveys to those used in previous surveys to enhance comparability and enable use of the data for analysing changes over time. Comments regarding comparability between the 2011-12 NHS and NNPAS and 2007-08 NHS are contained in the individual topic descriptions which follow.

This section contains the following subsection :
      Tobacco smoking
      Physical activity and sedentary behaviour
      Pedometer Steps
      Blood pressure
      Dietary behaviours
      Food Security
      Body Mass and Physical Measurements
      Family stressors

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