Steps taken to manage health during COVID-19 pandemic

Media Release

Most Australians (86 per cent) took steps to manage their physical health and two in three (67 per cent) took steps to manage their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

ABS Head of Household Surveys, David Zago, said the latest Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey conducted from 18 – 31 January 2021 asked Australians about strategies they had used to manage their physical and mental health since the 100th COVID-19 case was recorded in March 2020.

“The most common activities used to manage physical health were regular walks (60 per cent), regular physical activity (47 per cent), watching or changing their diet (47 per cent) and getting enough sleep (46 per cent).

“Common strategies for managing mental health included organising their home, life or other things (36 per cent), doing more of the things they enjoy (31 per cent) and practising thinking positively or setting achievable goals (30 per cent),” Mr Zago said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a shift in priorities for many Australians when it comes to their physical and mental health.”

Almost one in three Australians (30 per cent) reported prioritising their physical health more since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and one in four (26 per cent) had placed more of a priority on their mental health.

People aged 65 years and over (50 per cent) were more likely than younger people aged 18 to 34 years (36 per cent) to have prioritised their physical health due to COVID-19.

The survey also explored the impact of COVID-19 on social gatherings between December 2020 and January 2021.

“During that time, one in three Australians (36 per cent) chose not to attend a social gathering because of concerns about COVID-19.

“When they did attend social gatherings, people were more comfortable with gatherings at a friend or family member’s residence (87 per cent) or their own residence (86 per cent), than at nightclubs or bars (34 per cent) or community events (53 per cent).”

The majority (92 per cent) of Australians who did attend a social gathering took one or more precautions due to COVID-19.

People aged 65 years and over (62 per cent) were more likely to avoid interactions like shaking hands and hugging than those aged 18 to 64 years (56 per cent). While, people born overseas (38 per cent) were more likely than people born in Australia (31 per cent) to wear a facemask to a social gathering due to COVID-19.

The ABS would like to thank the Australian households that contributed to these survey results.

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
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