Page last updated: September 26, 2012

Risk factor trends in Australia: age patterns in key health risk factors over time

This report presents comparisons over time for different age groups for key health risk factors in Australia, including overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. The good news is that smoking rates have declined, particularly among younger people. However, overweight/obesity rates have increased for virtually all age groups, especially females aged 12 to 44.
This report presents comparisons over time for different age groups for key risk factors for health including overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These are key risk factors for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Monitoring patterns in these risk factors is important to help guide and target preventive health interventions.
Good news
Smoking rates declined between 1989-90 and 2007-08, particularly among younger people. Smoking is likely to continue to decline into the future because the smoking behaviour of younger age groups is generally predictive of future smoking behaviour.
From 1984 to 2008, the proportion of young people aged 12 to 17 who drank alcohol in the previous week decreased.
Concerns
The proportion of people aged 18 or over who drank at ‘risky/high-risk levels’ increased between 1995 and 2007-08 in each age group, apart from men aged 75 or over.
 


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