4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, Jun 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/06/2012   
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26 June 2012
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Australians: drinking more but living longer

Our health factors – how does Australia compare?
Australia was ranked equal fourth (with Israel) for life expectancy in 2009. This was behind Japan, Switzerland and Spain, reported the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Data taken from a 2008 OECD study showed Australians aged 15 years and over consumed 10.3 litres of pure alcohol per person. This is higher than the OECD average of 9.6 litres. We also discovered that 25% of Australian adults were obese, higher than the OECD average of 18%.

On the other hand, Australian smoking rates are better than OECD averages. In 2007, 17% of Australians aged 15 years and over smoked, compared with the OECD average of 21%.

STI notification rates on the rise
Over the past decade there have been increases in the notification rates for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis across Australia. However, notification rates for HIV have remained relatively stable over the same time period.

Chlamydia was the most frequently reported notifiable condition. There were nearly 80,000 new notifications for persons aged 15 years and over in 2011. 82% of these notifications were for people aged between 15 and 29 years.

While sexually transmissible infections predominantly affect the young, the rates of infection for older age groups are increasing as well. STIs such as syphilis were found to affect more people aged between the ages of 30 and 44 years than those aged between 18 and 29 years.

Children with a disability
In 2009, 7% of children aged less than 15 years had a disability. Around two thirds (67%) of children with a disability needed assistance with day to day activities.

Of all children with a disability, over half (57%) had a profound or severe disability, meaning that they were unable to, or needed help to, do things like communicate or care for themselves.

Please listen to our Podcast for more information on the ‘Children with a Disability’ article.

Child’s play: Children’s participation in organised sport or dancing
Almost two-thirds (63%) of children aged 5-14 years participated in organised sport or dancing at least once in the 12 months leading to April 2009. Girls were 5% less likely than boys to have participated.

Compared with a two-parent family with one parent employed, participation for children in organised sport or dancing was 18% more likely when both parents were employed, 13% less likely when neither parent was employed, and 20% less likely for children from unemployed single-parent families.

More details on these topics are available in the June edition of Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0).

Media Note:
  • 'Pure alcohol' is the estimate of the quantity of pure alcohol available for consumption from beer, wine, spirits, and Ready to Drink (pre-mixed) beverages (RTDs), plus estimates of the total volume of beer and wine available for consumption.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.