4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18  
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Tasmania

How did people in Tasmania rate their health in 2017-18?

  • Just over half (51.2%) of people aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in excellent or very good health.
  • More than one in seven (13.4%) 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 Tasmania in 2017-18 were:
  • Mental and behavioural conditions - 111,200 people (21.7%)
  • Arthritis - 104,300 people (20.3%)
  • Back problems - 93,400 people (18.2%)
  • Asthma - 66,000 people (12.9%)
  • Heart, stroke and vascular disease - 31,000 people (6.0%)
  • Diabetes mellitus - 28,400 people (5.5%)
  • Osteoporosis - 25,400 people (5.0%)
  • Cancer - 15,200 people (3.0%)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - 14,000 people (2.7%)
  • Kidney disease - 2,500* people (0.5%)

Compared with Australia, Tasmania had higher rates of many chronic conditions compared with Australia, in particular; Arthritis (20.3% compared with 15.0%), Asthma (12.9% compared with 11.2%), Cancer (3.0% compared with 1.8%), Heart, stroke and vascular disease (6.0% compared with 4.8%) and Osteoporosis (5.0% compared with 3.8%) While the older age structure of Tasmania (median age of 41 compared with 37 nationally) contributes to these differences, the difference for Arthritis and Asthma remained even after differences in age structures were taken into account.

Mental and behavioural conditions
  • In 2017-18, one in five (21.7%) people had a mental or behavioural condition.
  • Around one in seven (14.1%) had an anxiety-related condition and more than one in nine people (11.9%) had depression or feelings of depression.
  • Females were more likely to have an anxiety-related condition (17.4%) and have had depression or feelings of depression (15.0%) than males (11.3% and 8.8% respectively).

Health risk factors

Smoking

Adults (18 years and over)
  • One in six (16.4%) adults were daily smokers. This rate has remained similar to 2014-15 (17.9%), but is lower than the rate observed in 2011-12 (20.6%).
  • Men were more likely than women to smoke daily (17.5% compared with 15.2%).
  • Just under half of adults (48.9%) have never smoked. Women were more likely to have never smoked than men (54.7% compared with 43.1%).
  • Young adults aged 18-24 years were more likely to have never smoked (68.9%) than other adults in 2017-18, which was an increase since 2014-15 (55.5%). In 2017-18, two thirds of men (66.1%) and almost three quarters of women (72.1%) in this age group have never smoked.
  • Adults living in areas of most disadvantage (first quintile) were more likely to smoke daily (24.2%) compared with adults living in areas of least disadvantage where daily smoking rates were 5.7% (fifth quintile).
  • On average, daily smokers smoked 12.9 cigarettes per day, which is just over half a pack (a pack is considered to be 20 cigarettes). Men and women smoked on average 14.5 and 11.0 cigarettes per day respectively.

Tasmania had a higher rate of adults who were daily smokers compared with Australia (16.4% compared with 13.8%) and a lower rate for those who have never smoked (48.9% compared with 55.7%).

Overweight and Obesity

Adults (18 years and over)
  • In 2017-18, more than two thirds (70.9%) of adults were overweight or obese, with more than one third (36.0%) of adults categorised as overweight and over one third (34.8%) categorised as obese.
  • The proportion of adults who were overweight or obese in 2017-18 has increased since 2014-15 (67.5%).
  • In 2017-18, a greater proportion of men were overweight or obese than women (76.7% compared with 65.3%).

Children (2-17 years)
  • More than one quarter (28.7%) of children were overweight or obese in 2017-18, with 16.9% of children categorised as overweight and 11.4% categorised as obese.
  • The rates of boys and girls who were overweight or obese were similar (29.0% and 27.7% respectively) and have remained constant since 2014-15.

Tasmania had a higher rate of adults who were overweight or obese compared with Australia (70.9% compared with 67.0%) driven by a higher rate of obesity (34.8% compared with 31.3%); the rate for children was similar to the national rate.

Alcohol consumption[1]

Adults (18 years and over)

Lifetime risk guideline
  • Over one in six (17.1%) adults consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average, exceeding the lifetime risk guideline. Whilst the rate in 2017-18 has remained similar to 2014-15 (18.6%), it has declined since 2011-12 (22.7%).
  • Men were almost three times as likely (25.7%) to exceed the lifetime risk guideline as women (9.4%).

Single occasion risk guideline
  • Almost half of adults (45.4%) consumed more than four standard drinks on one occasion in the past year, exceeding the single occasion risk guideline. This rate has remained unchanged since 2014-15 (45.7%) and 2011-12 (48.9%).
  • Men (59.6%) were more likely to exceed the single occasion risk guideline than women (32.9%).

Tasmania had a higher rate of adults who exceeded the single occasion risk guideline compared with Australia (45.4% compared with 42.1%).

High blood pressure

Adults (18 years and over)
  • In 2017-18, more than one quarter (27.2%) of adults had a measured high blood pressure reading.

Tasmania had a higher rate of measured high blood pressure reading compared with Australia (27.2% compared with 22.8%). While the older age structure of Tasmania 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 of adults (47.1%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst one in nine (11.2%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only one in fourteen (7.0%) adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Children (2-17 years)
  • Almost three quarters (74.0%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst around one in sixteen (6.0%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • Only 4.2% met the guideline for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Tasmania had a lower rate of adults who met the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommended daily serves of fruit compared with Australia (47.1% compared with 51.3%). However, the rate of adults who met the recommended daily serves of vegetables was higher than the national rate (11.2% compared with 7.5%). Rates for children were similar to the national rate.

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Just under half (46.5%) of adults consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with more than twice as many adults (36.3%) consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 15.2% of people consuming diet drinks.
  • One in ten (11.4%) adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily, with less consuming diet drinks daily (3.8%).
  • Men are more likely to consume both sugar sweetened drinks than women. Overall, 43.1% of men consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 30.2% of women. Men were also more likely to be daily consumers (13.6% compared with 8.7%).
  • Young adults are most likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week; 67.3% of 18-24 year olds and 56.2% of 25-34 year olds. Rates of consumption generally declined as age increased and by 65 years and over, 18.2% of people were weekly consumers.

Children (2-17 years)
  • Less than half of children (47.9%) usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 44.9% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 7.9% for diet drinks.
  • One in ten children (10.0%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (31.9%) consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • Boys are more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks than girls, consistent with the trend for adults. Just over half (53.3%) of boys consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with just over a third (37.3%) of girls.

Tasmania had higher rates of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with Australia (11.4% compared with 9.1%).

Physical activity[3]
  • More than half (52.5%) of 18-64 year olds undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise, excluding workplace physical activity in the last week. This rate increased to 64.6% when workplace physical activity was included.
  • Over a quarter (27.9%) of older adults (65 years and over) engaged in 30 minutes of exercise on 5 or more days in the last week.
  • One fifth (20.8%) of 18-64 year olds undertook strength or toning activities on two or more days in the last week.
  • About one third (39.2%) of adults aged 18-64 years described their day at work as mostly sitting, 24.3% described their day as mostly walking, 18.3% as mostly standing and 16.9% as mostly heavy labour or physically demanding work.

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>.