4363.0 - National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2014-15  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/07/2017   
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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 2014-15 NHS were:
    • Smoking
    • Alcohol consumption
    • Exercise and sedentary behaviour
    • Dietary behaviours
    • Blood pressure
    • Body mass and physical measurements (e.g. height, weight and waist circumference).

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 2014-15 NHS and the 2011-12 NHS are summarised in the table below.

MEASUREMENT IN 2014-15 NHS, 2011-12 NHS AND 2011-13 AHS


Tobacco Smoking In 2011-12, information about smoking status was collected in both the NHS and the NNPAS surveys (i.e. the AHS Core). Smoker status data are considered directly comparable between the 2014-15 NHS and 2011-13 AHS. Other details regarding regular smoking (such as age commenced) collected in the 2014-15 NHS are also considered comparable to the 2011-12 NHS.
AlcoholDirectly comparable between the 2014-15 NHS and 2011-12 NHS.
Exercise and sedentary behaviourThe majority of the 2014-15 NHS data on exercise and sedentary behaviours are considered directly comparable with the 2011-12 NHS.
Strength and toning questions asked in the 2014-15 NHS were not asked in the 2011-12 NHS.

The 2014-15 NHS collected an additional question for those aged 15-17 years regarding the number of days in the last week that they exercised for at least 60 minutes in order to allow reporting against the new guidelines. This question was not asked in the 2011-12 NHS.

Over recent years there has been an increasing focus by governments and media on health and lifestyle issues around obesity and exercise. While such attention is likely to influence the levels of activity in the community, it may also have an impact on reporting behaviour; for example, creating a tendency to report what is perceived to be a desirable level of activity rather than actual activity. This should be considered when interpreting changes between results from 014-15, 2011-12, 2007-08 and 2004-05 surveys.

Information about adult exercise (for persons 18 years and over) was collected in both the 2011-12 NHS and the 2011-12 NNPAS surveys (i.e. the 2011-13 AHS Core). For comparison of exercise with 2014-15 NHS, the 2011-12 NHS file should be used.
Dietary behaviour (Consumption of milk, fruit, vegetables and salt) In 2011-12, information about dietary behaviours was collected in both the NHS and the NNPAS surveys (i.e. the AHS Core).

There were differences between the prompt cards used in 2014-15 and 2011-13 AHS to assist respondents in determining the size of a serve of fruit or vegetables.

The 2014-15 NHS included prepared (cooked) legumes such as kidney beans (but excluded baked beans) as part of the definition for a serve of vegetables, while the 2011-13 AHS excluded legumes such as baked beans and kidney beans.

The 2014-15 'Whether met recommended guidelines' items are based on the 2013 Guidelines and so are not directly comparable with the estimates published in Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.003) which are based on the 2003 Guidelines.

Several age recommendations in the 2013 Guidelines also include half servings. For example, the recommended number of servings of fruit for boys aged 4-8 years is 1 .. However, as the 2014-15 NHS collected usual daily serves in whole serves, in the National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15, half serves were rounded up to the nearest whole serve for published data. For example, for a 4-8 year old boy to meet the recommended daily intake of 1 1/2 serves of fruit, he would need to eat 2 serves of fruit.
Blood pressureDirectly comparable. Data was imputed (for further information see Imputation) for those who did not have their measurements taken in the 2014-15 NHS and was only collected for persons aged 18 years and over (compared to 5 years and over in 2011-12).
Height, weight, waist circumference and BMIDirectly comparable. Data was imputed for those who did not have their measurements taken in the 2014-15 NHS.
Family StressorsNot collected in the 2014-15 NHS.