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

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

  • Just over three in five (60.7%) people aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in excellent or very good health.
  • Almost one in eight (12.2%) 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 Western Australia in 2017-18 were:
  • Back problems - 442,600 people (17.8%)
  • Mental and behavioural conditions - 441,300 people (17.8%)
  • Arthritis - 319,600 people (12.9%)
  • Asthma - 237,100 people (9.6%)
  • Heart, stroke and vascular disease - 112,400 people (4.5%)
  • Diabetes mellitus - 103,700 people (4.2%)
  • Osteoporosis - 76,200 people (3.1%)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - 46,400 people (1.9%)
  • Cancer - 37,900 people (1.5%)
  • Kidney disease - 22,500 people (0.9%)

Western Australia had lower rates of Arthritis compared with Australia (12.9% compared with 15.0%), as well as lower rates of Mental and behavioural conditions (17.8% compared with 20.1%). Other conditions were similar to the national rates.

Mental and behavioural conditions
  • In 2017-18, more than one in six (17.8%) people had a mental or behavioural condition, an increase since 2014-15 (14.6%).
  • One in nine (11.0%) had an anxiety-related condition, which has increased since 2014-15 from 9.0%.
  • One in twelve (8.3%) had depression or feelings of depression; these were more common amongst females (10.4%) than males (6.0%).
  • Overall, mental and behavioural conditions were more common in females (20.7%) compared with males (14.3%).

Health risk factors

Smoking

Adults (18 years and over)
  • More than one in eight (11.8%) adults were daily smokers. The rate has almost halved since 1995 (23.0%).
  • In 2017-18, Western Australia was the only state to experience a decrease in the rate of daily smokers since 2014-15 (14.3%). This was due to a decrease in the rates of men who smoked daily from 17.0% in 2014-15 to 13.6% in 2017-18.
  • Despite this, men continued to be more likely to smoke daily than women (13.6% compared with 10.1%).
  • More than half of adults (56.3%) have never smoked in 2017-18 which was similar to the rate observed in 2014-15 (53.4%). Young adults aged 18-24 years were more likely to have never smoked (76.7%) than other adults.
  • Rates of smoking were higher in areas of most disadvantage, with more than one fifth (22.4%) of adults living in areas of most disadvantage (first quintile) being daily smokers, compared with 6.6% of adults living in areas of least disadvantage (fifth quintile).
  • Rates of smoking were lower in Major Cities (10.6%) compared with Inner Regional (15.1%) and Outer Regional and Remote areas (18.8%).
  • On average, daily smokers smoked 12.2 cigarettes per day, which is just over half a pack (a pack is considered to be 20 cigarettes). On average, men and women smoked a similar amount (12.5 cigarettes per day compared with 11.7).

Western Australia had a lower rate of adult daily smokers compared with Australia (11.8% compared with 13.8%).

Overweight and Obesity

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Two thirds (66.7%) of adults were overweight or obese. More than one third (37.9%) were overweight and over a quarter were obese (28.7%). Just under one third (32.3%) were within the healthy weight range and 1.1% were underweight.
  • Men were more likely than women to be overweight or obese (73.6% compared with 59.3%).
  • The proportion of adults who were overweight or obese generally increases with age. Over half (57.4%) of adults aged 25-34 years were overweight or obese and by age 65 years and over, this had increased to three quarters (76.8%).

Children (2-17 years)
  • Around one quarter (24.7%) of children were overweight or obese (18.6% overweight and 7.2% obese). The rates were similar for boys and girls.

Western Australia had a lower rate of adults who were obese compared with Australia (28.7% compared with 31.3%). The rates for children were similar to the national rate.

Alcohol consumption[1]

Adults (18 years and over)

Lifetime risk guideline
  • Almost one in five (18.7%) adults consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average, exceeding the lifetime risk guideline. These rates have declined since 2011-12 (25.4%), but remained similar to 2014-15 (20.8%).
  • Men were three times more likely than women to exceed the lifetime risk guideline (28.1% compared with 9.3%).

Single risk occasion guideline
  • Over two in five (44.1%) adults consumed more than four standard drinks on one occasion in the past year, exceeding the single occasion risk guideline. This rate was similar to 2014-15 (47.0%), but has declined since 2011-12 (49.3%).
  • Men were almost twice as likely to exceed the single occasion risk guideline compared with women (57.8% compared with 30.7%).
  • The proportion of adults exceeding the single occasion risk guideline was highest among those living in areas of least disadvantage (fifth quintile) at 50.9% compared with those living in areas of most disadvantage at 30.8% (first quintile).

Western Australia had a higher rate of adults who exceeded lifetime risk guidelines of alcohol consumption compared with Australia (18.7% compared with 16.1%).

High blood pressure

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Over one in five (23.0%) adults had a measured high blood pressure reading.

Fruit and vegetable consumption[2]

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Half of adults (50.8%) met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit (2 or more serves), whilst one in eleven (8.9%) met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables.
  • Almost one in fourteen (6.9%) adults met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Children (2-17 years)
  • Three quarters (75.8%) of children met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, whilst close to one in fifteen (6.8%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables.
  • One in seventeen (5.8%) met the guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.

Sugar sweetened and diet drink consumption

Adults (18 years and over)
  • Just under 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 twice as many adults consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with those consuming diet drinks (35.7% compared with 16.6%).
  • More adults consume sugar sweetened drinks daily (9.5%) than diet drinks (4.1%).
  • Men are more likely than women to consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week (41.7% and 29.7% respectively). Men were also more likely than women to be daily consumers of sugar sweetened drinks (12.3% compared with 6.4%).
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks peaked among young adults (18-24 years) with 62.6% consuming at least once per week, however, only 18.3% consume daily.

Children (2-17 years)
  • Two in five children (43.3%) usually consume either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week.
  • Children are more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks than diet drinks with around two in five (39.9%) children consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 5.9% for diet drinks.
  • One in twelve children (8.2%) consume sugar sweetened drinks daily and almost one third (30.3%) consume them 1-3 days per week.
  • Unlike the trend for adults, similar proportions of boys and girls consume sugar sweetened drinks. More than two in five (42.2%) boys and over one third (37.6%) of girls consume sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week.

Physical activity[3]
  • Around three in five (59.4%) adults aged 18-64 years undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise in the last week, excluding workplace physical activity. This increased to 70.9% when workplace physical activity was included.
  • One quarter (25.9%) of 18-64 year olds undertook strength or toning activities on two or more days in the last week.
  • Adults aged 18-64 years most commonly described their day at work as mostly sitting (41.3%), almost one quarter (24.0%) described their day as mostly walking, 17.8% as mostly standing and 15.2% as mostly heavy labour or physically demanding work.
  • Almost one quarter (23.0%) of older adults (65 years and over) engaged in 30 minutes of exercise on five or more days in the last week.

Western Australia had a higher rates 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 (59.4% compared with 55.4%) and when workplace activity was included (70.9% compared with 65.5%).

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>.