1338.1 - New South Wales in Focus, 2008 (Reissue)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/06/2008  Reissue
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Image: Health

Health – Summary Table
Data cubes with detailed statistics available on the Details Page


Health is defined by the World Health Organisation as 'a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity'. Good health provides social and economic benefits to individuals, families and the wider community.

Overall, the health of people in NSW is improving – people are living longer and healthier lives. Between 2000 and 2006, life expectancy in NSW improved for both men (by 2.2 years to reach 78.6 years) and women (by 1.5 years to reach 83.4 years). As well as continuing medical advances, recent increases in life expectancy, particularly for men, are due to a range of factors including fewer motor vehicle and work-related fatalities and fewer deaths from heart disease.

Life expectancy at birth(a), NSW

Graph: Life expectancy at birth(a), NSW

Causes of death

Causes of death data provide insights into diseases and other factors contributing to reduced life expectancy. Underlying causes of death data records the key disease or injury leading directly to death. In 2006, almost 80% of all underlying causes of death in NSW were associated with Australia's seven National Health Priority Areas (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, injury, asthma, mental health, diabetes mellitus and arthritis). The death rate for all persons in NSW in 2006 was one of the lowest on record, reflecting a steady decline since 2000, from 6.9 to 6.1 deaths per 1,000 persons. This overall decrease in death rates is mainly due to reductions in deaths from heart and cerebrovascular disease, though deaths from malignant cancer increased from 163 to 177 per 100,000 persons.

Selected causes of deaths(a)(b), NSW

Graph: Selected causes of deaths(a)(b)

Indigenous and non-Indigenous health status

Health gains in the wider community have not always been shared with Indigenous Australians, who in general have poorer health outcomes, including higher death and hospitalisation rates, and a shorter life expectancy. In 2004–05, the majority of non-Indigenous people in NSW aged 15 years and over (56%), consider themselves to be in very good or excellent health, compared with 36% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Indigenous people were 1.8 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to have reported fair or poor health.

Although most people reported they were in good health, in 2004–05, almost three-quarters (74%) of the non-Indigenous NSW population reported one or more long term medical condition. After adjusting for age differences, almost four in five Indigenous persons (79%) reported long term health conditions. The most commonly reported long term health conditions among Indigenous Australians were eye or sight problems (50%), heart or circulatory diseases (22%), arthritis (22%), back disorders (19%), and asthma (18%). The rate of kidney disease was 6 times higher in the Indigenous population compared with the non-Indigenous population, and diabetes or high sugar levels was almost 3 times higher in the Indigenous population.

Selected long term conditions(a), NSW – 2004–05

Graph: selected long term conditions(a), nsw—2004–05

Indigenous and non-Indigenous health risks

There are a range of issues which can influence health outcomes, including socioeconomic status, environmental factors, genetics and specific lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking, exercise and dietary habits. For the total NSW population, comparison between 2001 and 2005, show that more adults are drinking alcohol at risky or high risk levels (up from 11% to 13%), and more people are overweight or obese (up from 44% to 47%). In 2005, 23% of the total NSW adult population were current daily smokers.

In 2005, after adjusting for age differences, there were higher levels of short-term risky or high risk alcohol consumption among Indigenous adults (17% compared to 7% non-Indigenous), and a higher proportion of Indigenous adults were overweight/obese (64% compared to 51% non-Indigenous). In the same period, Indigenous adults were more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous adults to be current daily smokers (48% and 21% respectively).

Selected health risk factors(a), NSW – 2004–05

Graph: selected health risk factors(a), nsw—2004–05

Health – Summary Table
Data cubes with detailed statistics available on the Details Page