4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18  
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South Australia

How did people in South Australia rate their health in 2017-18?

  • Just over half (55.8%) of people aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in excellent or very good health.
  • Of all adults aged 18 years and over, 13.5% experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress.

Chronic conditions (Persons, all ages)

Chronic health conditions experienced in South Australia in 2017-18 were:
  • Mental and behavioural conditions - 334,500 people (19.9%)
  • Arthritis - 297,700 people (17.7%)
  • Back problems - 293,900 people (17.5%)
  • Asthma - 218,800 people (13.0%)
  • Diabetes mellitus - 101,100 people (6.0%)
  • Heart, stroke and vascular disease - 92,200 people (5.5%)
  • Osteoporosis - 62,100 people (3.7%)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - 40,000 people (2.4%)
  • Cancer - 33,400 people (2.0%)
  • Kidney disease - 18,700 people (1.1%)

Compared with Australia, South Australia had a higher rate of Arthritis (17.7% compared with 15.0%) and Asthma (13.0% compared with 11.2%). While the older age structure of South Australia (median age of 39 compared with 37 nationally) contributes to these differences, the difference for Asthma remained even after differences in age structures were taken into account.

Mental and behavioural conditions
  • In 2017-18, around one in five (19.9%) people had a mental or behavioural condition, which has remained at a similar rate to 2014-15 (18.3%).
  • Almost one in eight (12.8%) people had an anxiety-related condition and one in ten (10.2%) had depression or feelings of depression.
  • Mental and behavioural conditions were more common amongst females than males (22.6% compared with 17.1% respectively). This is a change from 2014-15 where rates of males and females were similar.
  • In 2017-18, females were more likely than males to have an anxiety-related condition (15.2% compared with 10.3%) While rates for males remained unchanged from 2014-15, the rate for females increased from 11.8%.
  • Females were also more likely than males to have depression or feelings of depression (12.3% compared with 8.2%).

Health risk factors

Smoking

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Around one in eight (12.9%) adults were daily smokers in 2017-18. Whilst this rate has declined since 1995 (22.8%), the rate has remained similar since 2014-15 (13.1%).
  • The proportion of adults who have never smoked has increased from just under half in 2011-12 to just over half in 2017-18 (49.5% and 54.4% respectively).
  • Men continued to be more likely than women to smoke daily in 2017-18 (15.6% compared with 10.3%).
  • For men aged 18-24 years in 2017-18, 16.5% smoked daily; this proportion remained relatively constant until age 65-74 years where the prevalence fell to 9.7%.
  • Of women aged 18-24 years, 6.1% smoked daily, this increased to 16.2% for women aged 45-54 years before falling to 8.8% for those aged 65-74 years and then 2.5% for women 75 years and over.
  • Rates of smoking were higher in areas of most disadvantage (first quintile) with more than one fifth (18.4%) of adults being daily smokers, compared with 6.8% in the least disadvantaged areas (fifth quintile).
  • Rates of smoking were lower in Major Cities (12.0%) compared with Outer Regional and Remote areas (16.7%).
  • On average, current daily smokers smoked 12.1 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 (13.1 cigarettes compared with 10.8).

Overweight and Obesity

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Over two thirds (69.7%) of adults were overweight or obese. More than one third of all adults (37.6%) were overweight and around a third were obese (32.6%). Under one third (29.2%) were within the healthy weight range and 0.9% were underweight.
  • Since 2014-15, the proportion of adults who were overweight or obese has increased from 65.8% to 69.7%.
  • In 2017-18, a greater proportion of men were overweight or obese than women (75.3% and 64.6% respectively).
  • Adults living in Outer Regional and Remote Australia were more likely to be overweight or obese than those living in Major Cities (75.6% and 68.5% respectively).

Children (2-17 years)
  • One quarter (25.6%) of children were overweight or obese (18.9% overweight and 7.5% obese). The rates were similar for boys and girls and have remained similar since 2014-15.

South Australia had a higher rate of adults who were overweight or obese compared with Australia (69.7% compared with 67.0%). The rate for children who were overweight or obese was similar to the national rate.

Alcohol consumption[1]

Adults (18 years and over)

Lifetime risk guideline
  • Almost one in six (16.0%) 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 (16.8%).
  • Men were more than twice as likely to exceed the lifetime risk guideline as women (23.6% compared with 9.5%). These rates have remained unchanged since 2014-15 (24.1% and 9.7% respectively).
  • Australian born adults were almost twice as likely as those born overseas to drink in excess of the lifetime risk guideline (18.0% compared with 12.0% respectively).

Single occasion risk guideline
  • Two in five (40.3%) adults consumed more than four standard drinks on one occasion in the past year, exceeding the single occasion risk guideline, which has declined since 2014-15 (44.7%).
  • Men were more likely to exceed the single occasion risk guideline than women (51.8% and 29.0% respectively).
  • Younger adults aged 18-24 years and 25-34 years were more likely to exceed the single risk occasion risk guideline than any other age group at 59.6% and 59.7% respectively.
  • Similar to the lifetime risk guideline, adults born in Australia (45.9%) were more likely to exceed the single occasion risk guideline than adults who were born overseas (26.4%).

High blood pressure

Adults (18 years and over)
  • In 2017-18, one quarter (25.4%) of adults had a measured high blood pressure reading, remaining unchanged since 2014-15 (24.5%) and 2011-12 (23.3%).

South Australia had a higher rate of adults with measured high blood pressure compared with Australia (25.4% compared with 22.8%). The older age structure of South Australia contributes to this as the difference does not remain after differences in age structures were taken into account.

Fruit and vegetable consumption[2]

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Almost half of adults (48.2%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst around one in fifteen (6.7%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only around one in twenty (4.6%) adults met both guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Children (2-17 years)
  • Seven in ten (70.5%) children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst only 3.7% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only 3.7% met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

South Australia had a lower rate of children who met the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommended daily serves for vegetables compared with Australia (3.7% compared with 6.3%). The rates for adults were similar to the national rates.

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Just over half (51.8%) of adults usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 37.0% of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 23.0% of people consuming diet drinks.
  • Almost one in ten (10.3%) adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, with less consuming diet drinks daily (6.7%).
  • Men are more likely to consume both sugar sweetened drinks and diet drinks than women. Overall, 45.7% of men consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 28.8% of women. Men were also more likely to be daily consumers (14.1% compared with 6.5%).
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 72.3% consuming at least once per week. Rates of consumption declined as age increased and by 65 years and over 19.4% of people were weekly consumers.

Children (2-17 years)
  • Just over half of children (53.2%) consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 42.6% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 12.1% for diet drinks.
  • One in fourteen children (6.0%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (32.2%) consume them 1-3 days per week. By comparison, 3.6% of children consume diet drinks daily and 7.6% consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • There was no difference between boys and girls and sugar sweetened drink consumption (40.9% and 44.7% respectively).

South Australia had a higher rate of adults who usually consume sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week compared with Australia (51.8% compared with 48.0%) and diet drinks daily (6.7% compared with 4.8%). South Australia had a higher rate of children who consume diet drinks daily (3.6% compared with 1.3%).

Physical activity[3]
  • More than half (51.5%) of 18-64 year olds undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise in the last week, excluding workplace physical activity and this increased to 62.5% when workplace physical activity was included.
  • Around one quarter (24.8%) 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 (41.6%), 24.0% described their day as mostly walking, 18.6% as mostly standing and 15.0% as mostly heavy labour or physically demanding work.
  • Just over a quarter (26.0%) of older adults (65 years and over) engaged in 30 minutes of exercise on 5 or more days in the last week.

South Australia had a lower rate of adults aged 18-64 years who undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise in the last week excluding workplace physical activity compared with Australia (51.5% compared with 55.4%).

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 Department of Health, 21 November 2017, 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>.