National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey

Purpose of the survey

This is an important national survey that collects information about the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

By taking part in this survey, you have the chance to make a difference. The information you give will help improve services and health programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The information is used to find ways to help people live healthier and happier lives. To find out more about this survey, please see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

If you have volunteered to take part in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey (NATSIHMS) you can view the NATSIHMS Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Thank you. We acknowledge and value your time and effort participating in this survey. It is only with your support that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.

Frequently asked questions - general

What is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey?

This is an important national survey that collects information about the nutrition and physical activity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Australia. The survey focuses on health conditions, food intake, physical activity and sleep.

How is the information from this survey used and why is it important?

By taking part in this survey, you have the chance to make a difference. Governments, researchers, and community groups use the results to help plan for the future. The information will support research into ways of helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live healthier and happier lives.

You can make sure that your health experiences and circumstances become part of the story of life in Australia today. Decisions about health and wellbeing services can be made using data from this survey. The information you give will help make important decisions for your local area, the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Why was my household selected?

Each year, we collect data about all parts of life from thousands of households and businesses throughout Australia to better understand our population and future needs.

Rather than survey the whole population, we use a scientific sampling process designed to collect data from people in all areas of Australia. All households have a chance of being chosen for this important national survey.

Once a household has been chosen, another household cannot replace it. If we change the random selection, some parts of the community could be missed.

It is important that all chosen households complete the survey to make sure the results represent the whole community so decisions about services by government, local councils and community groups are made using the most accurate information.

Who in my household will be required to participate?

For the first part of the survey, one person will be asked to supply general information about the household.

For the second part of the survey, up to one Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander adult from each selected household (aged 18 years and over) will be chosen at random to take part. Interviewers will do a personal interview with this person which will cover a range of topics about the individual's health and wellbeing.

Up to one Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander child from each selected household (aged 2 to 17 years) will also be chosen at random. If the selected child is 2-14 years, the interview will be done by a nominated adult. Children aged 15-17 years can answer the questions for themselves or the parent/guardian can do it for them.

How do I complete the survey?

An ABS Interviewer will visit your home and show you their official identification card.

The Interviewer will then ask for the names of the people living in your household. If you don’t want to give your name, you don’t have to.

The Interviewer will then complete the survey with each selected person in the survey.

If this time does not work for you, the Interviewer will organise a better time to come back and complete the survey.

What kinds of questions will you ask?

This survey collects a range of information to give a ‘snapshot’ of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing.

The survey includes questions about:

  • health conditions
  • what you eat and drink
  • exercise
  • sleep.

Your ABS Interviewer will ask for your permission to take measurements of your height, weight, waist and blood pressure. It’s important we get these measurements on the day of the interview to make sure our statistics are accurate.

Your Interviewer will also ask if you are willing to give voluntary biomedical (blood and/or urine) samples by visiting a local collection centre. For more information, you can view the NATSIHMS Frequently Asked Questions.

How do I know the person contacting me is from the ABS?

For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how this will be used.

If, after speaking with an interviewer, you have organised a better time for the interviewer to come back and complete the survey, you will receive a phone call confirming this new time. If you're worried that a phone call, SMS, voicemail or email claiming to be from the ABS is fake, don’t reply to it. Instead, call us on 1800 654 937 and we will confirm your part in the survey and the identity of the Interviewer who is contacting you.

The ABS will never ask you to give or confirm your bank details or tax file number (TFN).

What happens if there are people in my household who don't speak English?

Where possible, we can arrange for an ABS Interviewer who speaks the language of the person in the household to complete the survey. If there is someone in the household who can translate, and the respondent agrees, they can help the Interviewer.

How will you keep my information safe, secure, and confidential?

We take the security of the information you provide to us very seriously. Your information remains strictly confidential to the ABS and is not shared with other agencies. We use the information you provide to calculate statistics, which are released in ways that do not allow for the identification of individuals or households.

All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years imprisonment, a $37,560 fine, or both.

We comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. The ABS will not disclose your personal information to any overseas entity or for compliance or regulatory uses. If you believe we have breached these principles, please see the information on how to lodge a complaint about privacy matters, contained within our Privacy Policy.

Will the information I provide be combined with other data?

The information you provide may be combined with the information from other respondents to produce vital statistics about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The ABS is committed to getting the most value out of data and statistics. To do this, we may combine your data with other sources. This is known as data integration. The ABS does this to create new statistics and insights that help address important questions about Australia’s communities and environment. For more information please visit

Governments, researchers and community groups will use this vital data to better understand the health and wellbeing of people in Australia. This helps to inform health programs, assess current policies, and to plan for the future.

No information that can identify you, your household or community is given to anyone, including police, Centrelink or housing officers.

Does the ABS have a Child Safe Policy?

The ABS works within the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework. We are committed to creating a safe environment for children and young people. To do this, the ABS has set up practices and processes to help protect children in all ABS activities which involve contact with children.

Who can I contact for more information?

For help or more information about this survey, please call us on 1800 654 937 Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm AEST (9am to 8pm during daylight savings). For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will return your call as soon as possible.

Frequently asked questions - activity wristband

Who will you ask to wear an activity wristband?

We will ask the randomly chosen adult and child (if there are any) who take part in the survey if they would like to volunteer. This will mean they wear an activity wristband for 8 days following the interview.

How long will you ask volunteers to wear the activity wristband for?

We will ask you to wear the activity wristband for 8 days following the interview, before taking it off. Your ABS Interviewer will write down the date and time that the activity wristband can be taken off.

How do I give the activity wristband back?

If you live in an urban area, your ABS Interviewer will give you a prepaid post envelope which you can put the activity wristband into, to post it back to the ABS. If you live in a remote area, your ABS Interviewer will let you know how you should return your activity wristband.

We will get in touch if we do not receive the activity wristband back.

Can I take the activity wristband off?

Always wear the activity wristband during the 8 days unless it is unsafe (for example, while playing contact sports or if doing an activity that exceeds an underwater depth of 1.5m). Remove the wristband if it causes skin irritation.

Can someone else wear the activity wristband for me?

No, we are interested in your physical activity and sleep. The activity wristband information is used with other information about you like your age. Do not give the wristband to anyone else to wear.

Do I need to charge the activity wristband?

No, the battery will last for the 8 days without charging it.

What happens if I need to stop wearing the activity wristband before the end of the 8 days?

If you stop wearing the wristband before the end of the 8 days, still return it to us.

Will I get the information from my activity wristband back?

No, we do not provide volunteers with information about their individual activity. The combined information from you and others chosen in your community helps us to know more about the health, activities and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. If you are interested in the results of the survey, they will be published on the ABS website.

Who do I contact if I have more questions or need help with the activity wristband?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us on 1800 654 937.

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