Arthritis our No 1 health issue: ABS

The 2011-13 Australian Health Survey (AHS) is the largest and most comprehensive health survey ever conducted in Australia to date. Conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), its most recent findings pinpoint asthma, arthritis, heart disease and mental and behavioural problems as Australians’ most prevalent health issues.

Specifically, below are some of the survey’s early key findings, released in late November 2012:

General health
In 2011-12 over half (55.6%) of all Australians aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in very good or excellent health, while 4.0% rated their health as poor.

Long-term health conditions
Of the National Health Priority Areas, the top long-term health conditions experienced in Australia in 2011-12 were:

Arthritis – 3.3 million people (14.8%)
Mental and behavioural conditions – 3.0 million people (13.6%)
Asthma – 2.3 million people (10.2%)
Heart disease – 1.0 million people (4.7%)
Tobacco smoking
Rates of daily smoking have continued to drop to 2.8 million people (16.3%) aged 18 years and over in 2011-12 from 18.9% in 2007-08 and 22.4% in 2001.

Alcohol consumption
The proportion of people aged 18 years and over who consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average decreased from 20.9% in 2007-08 to 19.5% in 2011-12.

44.7% of people aged 18 years and over consumed more than four standard drinks at least once in the past year, exceeding the National Health and Medical Research Council single occasion risk guidelines.

Overweight and obesity
Prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults aged 18 years and over has continued to rise to 63.4% in 2011-12 from 61.2% in 2007-08 and 56.3% in 1995.

However the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children aged 5-17 has remained stable at 25.3% in 2011-12.

Information Source: ABS National Health Survey 2012 25/11/2012

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