4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/05/2019   
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Northern Territory

How did people in Northern Territory rate their health in 2017-18?

  • More than half (56.7%) of people aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in excellent or very good health.
  • One in nine (11.3%) adults aged 18 years and over experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress.

Chronic conditions (Persons, all ages)

Chronic health conditions experienced in Northern Territory in 2017-18 were:
  • Mental and behavioural conditions - 28,100 people (15.9%)
  • Back problems - 24,300 people (13.7%)
  • Arthritis - 16,200 people (9.2%)
  • Asthma - 13,100 people (7.4%)
  • Diabetes mellitus - 9,800 people (5.5%)
  • Heart, stroke and vascular disease - 3,600 people (2.0%)
  • Cancer - 3,100 people (1.8%)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - 3,000 people (1.7%)
  • Kidney disease - 2,700 people (1.5%)
  • Osteoporosis - 2,000* people (1.1%)

Compared with Australia, Northern Territory had lower rates for Arthritis (9.2% compared with 15.0%), Asthma (7.4% compared with 11.2%), Heart, stroke and vascular disease (2.0% compared with 4.8%), Mental and behavioural conditions (15.9% compared with 20.1%) and Osteoporosis (1.1% compared with 3.8%). While the younger age structure of Northern Territory (median age of 34 compared with 37 nationally) contributes to these differences, all differences remained even after differences in age structures were taken into account.

Mental and behavioural conditions
  • The rates of people who had a mental or behavioural condition have remained relatively stable since 2014-15 (15.9% compared with 14.8%).
  • Anxiety-related conditions were the most commonly experienced mental or behavioural condition, affecting one in ten (10.7%) people, an increase from 7.2% in 2014-15. This increase was mainly due to an increase in females with anxiety from 7.9% to 11.9% while the rate remained stable for males.
  • One in thirteen people (7.5%) had depression or feelings of depression which was similar to 2014-15 (8.5%).

Health risk factors

Smoking

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Almost one fifth (19.6%) of adults were daily smokers. Whilst this rate has almost halved since 1995 (35.6%), it has remained similar since 2014-15 (20.9%).
  • Just under half of adults (49.4%) have never smoked. This proportion has remained relatively stable since 2014-15 (47.3%) and 2011-12 (44.1%).
  • Men continued to be more likely than women to smoke daily in 2017-18 (21.9% compared with 17.3%).
  • Rates of smoking were twice as high in areas of most disadvantage with almost one third (31.7%) of adults living in areas of most disadvantage (first quintile) being daily smokers, compared with 15.2% in the least disadvantaged areas (fifth quintile).
  • On average, daily smokers smoked 12.5 cigarettes per day, which is just over half a pack (a pack is considered to be 20 cigarettes). On average, men smoked more than women (13.3 cigarettes per day compared with 11.4).

Northern Territory had higher rates of daily smokers compared with Australia (19.6% compared with 13.8%) and lower rates for those who had never smoked (49.4% compared with 55.7%).

Overweight and Obesity

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Around two thirds (65.2%) of adults were overweight or obese. Of these, slightly more than a third (35.1%) were overweight and under a third were obese (29.8%). One third (33.4%) were within the healthy weight range and 1.6% were underweight.
  • The proportion of adults who were overweight or obese has remained similar to rates observed in 2014-15 (64.3%) and 2011-12 (62.1%).
  • In 2017-18, a greater proportion of men were overweight or obese than women (71.7% and 57.7% respectively). The proportions for both men and women have remained similar since 2011-12 (68.1% and 55.6% respectively).

Children (2-17 years)
  • One quarter (26.4%) of children were overweight or obese (16.9% overweight and 8.2% obese). The rates were similar for boys and girls and rates have remained similar since 2014-15.

Alcohol consumption[1]

Adults (18 years and over)

Lifetime risk guideline
  • More than one in five (21.4%) adults consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average, exceeding the lifetime risk guideline in 2017-18, which was similar to 2014-15 (19.3%).
  • Men were more than twice as likely to exceed the lifetime risk guideline as women (29.1% and 13.9% respectively). These rates have remained relatively similar since 2014-15 (29.0% and 9.1% respectively).

Single occasion risk guideline
  • Almost half (49.1%) of adults consumed more than four standard drinks on one occasion in the past year, exceeding the single occasion risk guideline. This rate has remained steady since 2014-15 (47.8%).
  • Men were more likely to exceed the single occasion risk guideline than women (60.7% and 37.4% respectively).

Northern Territory had higher rates of adults exceeding both the lifetime risk guideline (21.4% compared with 16.1%) and single occasion risk guideline (49.1% compared with 42.1%) compared with Australia.

High blood pressure

Adults (18 years and over)
  • In 2017-18, almost one in six (16.3%) adults had a measured high blood pressure reading.

Northern Territory had a lower rate of adults who had a measured high blood pressure reading compared with Australia (16.3% compared with 22.8%). While the younger age structure of Northern Territory contributes to this difference, the difference remains even after differences in age structures were taken into account.

Fruit and vegetable consumption[2]

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Almost half (47.7%) of adults met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst one in ten (10.3%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables (5-6 or more serves for men depending on age, and 5 or more for women).
  • Only one in fifteen (6.6%) adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Children (2-17 years)
  • Three quarters (73.9%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst only 6.6% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only 7.7% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Northern Territory had a higher rate of adults who met the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommended daily serves of vegetables compared with Australia (10.3% compared with 7.5%). Rates for children were similar to the national rate.

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)
  • More than half (54.9%) of adults consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with more than twice as many adults (43.1%) consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 16.6% of people consuming diet drinks.
  • One in nine (11.7%) adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, with less consuming diet drinks daily (5.2%).
  • Men are more likely to consume both sugar sweetened drinks and diet drinks than women (63.8% compared with 45.9%). Men are also more likely to be daily consumers (15.0% compared with 9.6%).

Children (2-17 years)
  • Around two in five children (44.1%) usually consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 37.7% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 9.5% for diet drinks.
  • One in fourteen children (11.1%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and 2.1% of children consume diet drinks daily.
  • Similar proportions of boys and girls consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week (37.5% and 44.4% respectively).

Northern Territory had a higher rate of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with Australia (11.7% compared with 9.1%). There was also a higher rate of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks once per week (37.7% compared with 36.2%). Rates of children were similar to the national rate.

Physical activity[3]
  • More than half (53.0%) of 18-64 year olds undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise in the last week, excluding workplace physical activity and this increased to 64.3% when workplace physical activity was included.
  • More than one fifth (21.6%) of 18-64 year olds undertook strength or toning activities on two or more days in the last week.
  • Adults aged 18-64 years described their day at work as mostly sitting (40.2%), 25.7% described their day as mostly walking, 20.0% as mostly standing and 13.9% as mostly heavy labour or physically demanding work.
  • Almost one third (30.2%) of older adults (65 years and over) engaged in 30 minutes of exercise on 5 or more days in the last week.

For further information

For further information about these and related statistics see publication National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001), or contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Endnotes

1 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), 2009. Australian guideline to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, Canberra: NHMRC <https://nhmrc.gov.au/health-advice/alcohol>; For more information see Glossary.

2 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. <https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines>; For more information see Glossary.

3 The Department of Health, Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. <http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines> .

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution