National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey

Ready to start your survey now?

Click the link below to create your ABS Survey Account and start your survey.

Purpose of the survey

This is an important national survey that collects information about the health and wellbeing of people in Australia.

By taking part in this survey, you have the chance to make a difference. The information you give will help with important decisions for your local area and the wider Australian community. These include decisions about health programs and policies. 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 Health Measures Survey (NHMS) you can view the NHMS Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Thank you. We acknowledge and value your time and effort taking part 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 Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey?

This is an important national survey that collects information about the nutrition and physical activity of people living in Australia. The survey looks at 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, academics, doctors, and other health professionals in your community use the results to:

  • create health programs to inform the public about lifestyle and health choices,
  • encourage and support research into helping Australians live longer and healthier lives,
  • make sure health services and programs are available for those in need, and
  • look at current policies to lower the burden of chronic disease through improved diet and increased physical activity.

You can make sure that your health experiences and circumstances become part of the story of life in Australia today. The information you give will help make important decisions for your local area and the wider Australian community.

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. This means that decisions about government services, 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 everyone in the household.

For the second part of the survey, we will randomly select one adult and one child (if there are any) to answer questions about their health and wellbeing. We need to randomly select the person (rather than you choosing them) because we need a range of people with different characteristics. Each selected person in the survey represents similar people in their local area.

How do I complete the survey?

If you have been chosen for this survey, you will get a letter in the mail with instructions on how to create an ABS Survey Account and add your secure Form Access Code. You can start your survey online. If you can’t respond online, please call us on 1800 151 913 to discuss your part in the survey.

For the second part of the survey, an ABS Interviewer will visit your home and show you their official identification card. The Interviewer will then complete the survey with each selected person in the survey.

What kinds of questions will you ask?

This survey collects general information about everyone in the household and includes questions about age, country of birth, and relationships within the household.

The survey then asks one randomly chosen adult and one randomly chosen child (if there are any children) a range of questions about health conditions, what you eat and drink, physical activity, and 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. If you choose to give these samples, you will be helping with important research into the link between nutrition, exercise, and health outcomes. For more information, you can view the NHMS Frequently Asked Questions.

Is the survey compulsory?

The questions included in this survey are being asked under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The ABS seeks voluntary participation in the survey, however the Act does have provisions to make your response compulsory.

The ABS has a strong reputation for retaining confidentiality of data. All the information you provide will remain strictly confidential and is protected under the Act. Our Privacy Policy outlines how you can access and correct the personal details that you provide to us and our privacy complaints handling process.

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

If your household was chosen to take part in this survey, you will have been sent a letter about this. You can also call us on 1800 151 913 to confirm your part in the survey.

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.

You may get calls from numbers that you don’t know including mobile phone numbers or “unknown” numbers. This is because many of our Interviewers work from home and use ABS authorised mobile phones and office phones.

If you're concerned 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 151 913 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 $26,640 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 Australian households.

The ABS is committed to maximising the value of data and statistics. To do this, we may combine your data with other sources which 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 www.abs.gov.au/dataintegration.

The new insights created through data integration assist policy makers and researchers to better understand Australian families, communities, industry and the economy. This wider understanding can help to improve the development and delivery of government services and programs in areas such as health, infrastructure, housing and other community services.

By reusing existing data, we can also reduce the amount or frequency of information needed from our surveys, saving you time, and using public money more effectively.

I'm having trouble starting the survey online – where can I find help?

Please see our Survey Account Help page for help with technical difficulties, as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions about creating and using an ABS Survey Account.

You can also call us on 1800 151 913 and one of our team will be happy to help you.

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 151 913 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 - dietary recall

Why is it important for me to complete a Day 2 dietary recall?

By completing a second dietary recall on a different day, we can get a better understanding of what people usually eat and drink. What you eat on some days can be very different from others. For example, you may eat very different foods on a day of celebration or between a weekday and the weekend.

What is involved in the Day 2 dietary recall?

The Day 2 dietary recall will be available from 8 days after your interview. It asks you about what you ate and drank the day before, using the same program as your ABS Interviewer used during your interview. Your ABS interviewer will give you a Tip Sheet that will help you do your Day 2 dietary recall. Once you complete your dietary recall, you will have a chance to give feedback.

Can somebody else in my household complete the Day 2 dietary recall for me?

It is important for the quality of information collected that you complete the dietary recall yourself if you can. Sometimes someone might need to complete the recall for another person. For example, a parent may complete the recall for a child or sometimes a person may get help from a household member or carer if they find it hard to use the program. If you need help completing the Day 2 dietary recall, please call us on 1800 151 913.

What happens if I forget to complete my Day 2 dietary recall?

It is important to this survey that everyone completes their Day 2 dietary recall. We will send you helpful reminders when you are due to complete it.

Can I complete my Day 2 dietary recall on a smartphone or tablet?

While it is possible to use the Day 2 dietary recall link on your smartphone or tablet, it is recommended that you complete the Day 2 dietary recall using a computer or laptop.

How do I start my Day 2 dietary recall?

You will need to be connected to the internet to complete your Day 2 dietary recall. If you have chosen to complete your Day 2 dietary recall online, you will be sent an email with a code and link to access it from 8 days after your interview. If you provided your mobile phone number at your interview, you will also get a text message to let you know when the email has been sent. If you can’t find the email, check your email junk or spam folder. Otherwise, call us on 1800 151 913 for help.

I am having trouble completing my Day 2 dietary recall online – where can I find help?

Please see our Survey Account Help page for help with technical difficulties, as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions about creating and using an ABS Survey Account.

When you are using the Day 2 dietary recall program, you can click the ‘Help’ button in the top right corner of the grey instructions panel. You can also watch the introduction help video at any time by clicking the ‘Watch tutorial video’ link in the top right of the screen. If you are not using the program, you can still watch the Dietary Recall Tutorial Video.

Otherwise, call us on 1800 151 913 for help.

What do I do if I can’t find the food or drink I am looking for?

If you can’t find the food or drink you are looking for, try the following:

  • If there are too many search results, add detail to your search (e.g. change “coffee” to “cappuccino” or “rice” to “brown rice”).
  • If there are too few search results, shorten and simplify your search (e.g. change “vegan schnitzel” to “schnitzel”).
  • Think about if it has another name (e.g. “yiros” is also known as a “kebab”).
  • Sometimes items can be found by brand names (e.g. “Kit Kat”) and other times they are known by a generic term (e.g. “chocolate bar”).
  • Results appear as ‘Matching foods’ and by ‘Categories’. Scroll down to look at the suggested categories, your food may be in there.

Sometimes you may not be able to find an exact match for the food you’re looking for. You can choose a food or drink that is close enough.

You can report a missing food by clicking on ‘I can’t find my food’ at the bottom of the search list and selecting ‘Report a Missing Food’.

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 aged 5-17 years) 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 to post back to the ABS. Your ABS Interviewer will write down the date and time that the activity wristband can be taken off.

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.

What happens if the activity wristband gets damaged or lost?

We ask you to take care of the wristband until you return it to us. If the wristband is lost or damaged, please contact us on 1800 151 913. Even if the wristband is damaged, please return it to us.

What happens if I forget to send the activity wristband back?

When you agreed to wear the activity wristband, you provided us with your contact details, so if we do not receive it back, you will get a reminder to return it.

Will I get the information from my activity wristband back?

No, we do not give volunteers 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 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 151 913.

Back to top of the page