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

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

  • More than half (57.3%) of people aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in excellent or very good health.
  • Almost one in eight (12.8%) 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 Victoria in 2017-18 were:
  • Mental and behavioural conditions - 1.3 million people (20.2%)
  • Back problems - 1.1 million people (17.3%)
  • Arthritis - 960,800 people (15.3%)
  • Asthma - 714,000 people (11.4%)
  • Heart, stroke and vascular disease - 320,200 people (5.1%)
  • Diabetes mellitus - 311,000 people (5.0%)
  • Osteoporosis - 202,600 people (3.2%)
  • Cancer - 130,400 people (2.1%)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - 116,700 people (1.9%)
  • Kidney disease - 72,100 people (1.1%)

Victoria had a lower rate of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) compared with Australia (1.9% compared with 2.5%). Other conditions were similar to the national rate.

Mental and behavioural conditions
  • In 2017-18, one in five (20.2%) people had a mental or behavioural condition, which was an increase since 2014-15 (17.5%).
  • This was mostly due to an increase in those with an anxiety-related condition from 11.1% in 2014-15 to 13.3% in 2017-18. This increase was driven by females with an anxiety-related condition increasing from 13.0% to 16.1%, whereas the proportion for males have remained at similar rates; 8.8% compared with 9.9%.
  • One in ten (10.4%) had depression or feelings of depression, which was similar to the rate observed in 2014-15 (9.1%).
  • Overall, mental and behavioural conditions were more common amongst females than males (23.7% compared with 16.7% respectively).

Health risk factors

Smoking

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Almost one in seven (13.5%) adults were daily smokers in 2017-18, which was similar to the rate observed in 2014-15 (13.7%). However, this rate has declined since 2011-12 (16.3%).
  • In 2017-18, more than half of adults (57.4%) have never smoked, which has increased from 54.6% in 2014-15. Since 2014-15, the increase in adults who have never smoked was driven by adults aged 25-34 years where the proportion increased from 58.5% to 65.0% and adults aged 35-44 years from 51.5% to 57.0%.
  • Men continued to be more likely than women to smoke daily (16.5% compared with 10.8%). Whilst the rates for men and women who smoke daily were similar to 2014-15 (16.0% and 11.8% respectively), there has been a decline since 2011-12 (19.2% and 13.5% respectively).
  • Rates of daily smoking were higher in areas of most disadvantage (first quintile) (20.5%), compared with 7.7% in the least disadvantaged areas (fifth quintile).
  • On average, current daily smokers smoked 11.6 cigarettes per day, which is just over half a pack (a pack is considered to be 20 cigarettes). Men and women smoked on average 11.8 and 11.2 cigarettes per day respectively.

Victoria had a higher rate of adults who have never smoked compared with Australia (57.4% compared with 55.7%).

Overweight and Obesity

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Two thirds (68.3%) of adults were overweight or obese. More than a third (36.6%) were overweight and slightly less than a third were obese (31.8%). Just under one third (30.6%) were within the healthy weight range and 1.0% were underweight.
  • The proportion of adults who were overweight or obese has increased since 2014-15 (63.3%).
  • In particular, the proportion of younger adults who were overweight or obese has increased from 40.0% to 50.0% for 18-24 year olds and 51.3% to 60.2% for 25-34 year olds between 2014-15 and 2017-18.
  • A greater proportion of men were overweight or obese than women (75.9% and 60.7% respectively). These proportions have increased since 2014-15 (70.4% and 56.5% respectively) and 2011-12 (67.7% and 54.3% respectively).
  • This change was driven by the increase in the proportion categorised as obese, particularly by men where the proportion has increased from 24.3% in 2011-12 to 33.5% in 2017-18, while the proportion of women who were obese has increased from 26.8% in 2014-15 to 30.2% in 2017-18.
  • Seven in ten (73.7%) adults living in the areas of most disadvantage (first quintile) were overweight or obese in comparison to six in ten (63.7%) in the least disadvantaged (fifth quintile).

Children (2-17 years)
  • More than one fifth (22.6%) of children were overweight or obese (14.9% overweight and 8.0% obese). This rate has declined since 2014-15 where 28.6% of children were overweight or obese.

Alcohol consumption[1]

Adults (18 years and over)

Lifetime risk guideline
  • Almost one in seven (14.5%) adults consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average, exceeding the lifetime risk guideline in 2017-18, similar to 2014-15 (15.6%).
  • Men were more than twice as likely to exceed the lifetime guideline as women. More than one in five (21.0%) men and around one in eleven women (8.2%) exceeded the lifetime risk guideline in 2017-18.
  • Unlike other health risk factors such as smoking and overweight or obesity, the proportion of adults who exceeded the lifetime risk guideline was highest among those living in areas of least disadvantage (fifth quintile) compared with those living in areas of most disadvantage (first quintile) (17.7% and 9.4% respectively).

Single occasion risk guideline
  • Two in five (41.8%) adults consumed more than four standard drinks on one occasion in the past year, exceeding the single occasion risk guideline, which was similar to 2014-15 (42.5%) and 2011-12 (43.3%).
  • Men were more likely to exceed the single occasion risk guideline than women (54.1% and 29.8% respectively). These rates have remained similar since 2011-12 (57.4% and 29.7% respectively).
  • As found with the lifetime risk guidelines, the proportion of adults exceeding the single occasion risk guideline was highest among those living in areas of least disadvantage (fifth quintile) at 50.8% compared with those living in areas of most disadvantage (first quintile) at 27.1%.

High blood pressure

Adults (18 years and over)
  • In 2017-18, almost one quarter (24.0%) of adults had a measured high blood pressure reading, which has remained relatively stable since 2011-12 (22.7%).

Fruit and vegetable consumption[2]

Adults (18 years and over)
  • More than half of adults (51.3%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst around one in thirteen (7.8%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • One in twenty (5.0%) adults in Victoria met both guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Children (2-17 years)
  • Three quarters (75.6%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst around one in fourteen (7.2%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • One in fifteen (6.5%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Fewer than half (47.1%) of adults consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks, with around twice as many adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with those consuming diet drinks (36.1% compared with 18.1%).
  • More adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily (7.0%) than diet drinks (3.9%).
  • More men than women consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week (44.9% and 27.6% respectively). Men are also more likely to be daily consumers (8.2% compared with 5.9%).
  • Similarly, more men (21.0%) consume diet drinks at least once per week compared with women (15.3%).
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 61.1% consuming at least once per week and 11.0% consuming daily.
  • Adults living in the most disadvantaged areas (first quintile) were almost three times (11.8%) more likely to drink sugar sweetened drinks daily than adults living in the least disadvantaged areas (4.3%) (fifth quintile).

Children (2-17 years)
  • Two in five children (42.0%) usually consume either sugar sweetened or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks are more popular than diet drinks with 38.1% of children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 8.7% for diet drinks.
  • One in twenty children (5.1%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (31.0%) consume them 1-3 days per week. By comparison, 1.1% of children consume diet drinks daily and 6.2% consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • Boys are more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks than girls, consistent with the trend for adults. More than two in five (44.3%) boys consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with just under a third (31.8%) of girls.

Victoria had a lower rate of adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks daily compared with Australia (7.0% compared with 9.1%). The rates for children were similar to the national rates.

Physical activity[3]
  • One in ten (10.8%) 15-17 year olds engaged in 60 minutes of exercise (excluding workplace physical activity) every day and around one in seven (13.7%) did strength or toning activities on three or more days in the last week.
  • More than half (55.0%) of 18-64 year olds undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise in the last week, excluding workplace physical activity and this increased to 64.9% when workplace physical activity was included.
  • Almost one quarter (24.4%) of 18-64 year olds undertook strength or toning activities on two or more days in the last week.
  • Over two in five adults aged 18-64 years described their day at work as mostly sitting (43.4%), 24.7% as mostly walking, 19.6% as mostly standing and 11.3% as mostly heavy labour or physically demanding work.
  • 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.

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>.