First results from the Australian Health Survey have mixed news; smoking rates continue to fall, as do rates of drinking at risky levels, but the number of people who are overweight and obese continues to rise. Dr Paul Jelfs, Chief statistician said the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey was the largest check up on the nation’s health ever undertaken. The main findings are:
In 2011-12 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.
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.
The proportion of people aged 18 years and over who consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average, exceeding the National Health and Medical Research Council low risk guidelines, decreased to 19.5% in 2011-12 from 20.9% in 2007-08.
44.7% of people aged 18 years and over consumed more than four standard drinks at least once in the past year.
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.