Structure and background of the survey
The 2017-18 National Health Survey was conducted between 2 July 2017 and 30 June 2018. It is the eighth comprehensive national survey in a series of regular population surveys designed to obtain national benchmark information on a range of health-related issues and to enable the monitoring of trends in health over time.
Previous surveys in the series were conducted in 1989-90, 1995, 2001, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2011-12 (as part of the Australian Health Survey (AHS) and 2014-15. Health surveys conducted by the ABS in 1977-78 and 1983, while not part of the NHS series, also collected similar information. In addition, a range of other ABS surveys on health and related issues have been conducted at the national level and for individual states and territories.
The 2017-18 NHS was conducted in all states and territories and across urban, rural and remote areas of Australia (other than very remote areas) and included 21,315 people in 16,384 private dwellings. The sample was designed to ensure that within each state or territory, each person had an equal chance of selection and that reliable estimates could be produced for each state and territory. Information was obtained about one adult and one child aged 0-17 years in each selected household.
Trained ABS interviewers conducted a face-to-face interview with the selected adult member of the household. Parental consent to interview persons aged 15-17 years was sought, however some parents preferred to answer survey questions on their children's behalf. A parent or guardian was asked to answer questions on behalf of all children aged less than 15 years. This person is referred to as the child proxy throughout this publication, and in other outputs from the survey.
The survey focused on the health status of Australians and health-related aspects of their lifestyles. Information was collected about respondents' long-term health conditions, and on lifestyle factors which may affect health, such as tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable consumption, sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption, physical activity and physical measurements (measured and self-reported height and weight used to calculate Body Mass Index, measured waist circumference and blood pressure). Respondents were also asked about their use of medications.
A dress rehearsal of the NHS was conducted in New South Wales and South Australia in November 2016.
First results from the NHS were published in National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001), released on 12 December 2018.
See Release schedule chapter for a timetable of product releases from the 2017-18 NHS.