Australian Bureau of Statistics
4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/04/2013
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Any cover provided by private health insurance organisations for health-related services other than medical (e.g. GP or specialist visits) or hospital cover (e.g. physiotherapy, dental, optical, chiropractic and ambulance).
Arthritis is characterised by an inflammation of the joints often resulting in pain, stiffness, disability and deformity.
ASGC Remoteness Structure
The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Structure has 5 categories based on an aggregation of geographical areas which share common characteristics of remoteness, determined in the context of Australia as a whole. These categories are:
The five categories are generally aggregated in some way for use in output.
The criteria for these categories are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) developed by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and the National Key Centre for Social Applications of GIS (GISCA). ARIA measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distance to the nearest Urban Centre in each of five size classes. For more information on how ARIA is defined see Information Paper: ABS Views on Remoteness, 2001 (cat. no. 1244.0) and Information Paper: Outcomes of ABS Views on Remoteness Consultation, Australia, Jun 2001 (cat. no. 1244.0.00.001). Also refer to Census Geography Paper 03/01 - ASGC Remoteness Classification - Purpose and Use, available from the ABS web site.
A chronic disease marked by episodes of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath associated with widespread narrowing of the airways within the lungs and obstruction of airflow. A person must have received treatment or medication in the last year to be recorded as currently having asthma.
Australian Health Survey (AHS)
The Australian Health Survey 2011-13 is composed of three separate surveys:
In addition to this, the AHS Survey contains a Core dataset, which is produced from question set that are common to both NHS and NNPAS. See Australian Health Survey Core dataset for details.
Australian Health Survey Core Dataset
The AHS Core Dataset is produced from the question sets that are common to both NHS and NNPAS. The questions set include the following topics:
Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) classifications
The ARTG identification numbers fall into two different types of classifications:
See "High blood pressure", "Diastolic blood pressure" and "Systolic blood pressure".
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity. It is defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres (kg/m2). The AHS uses the World Health Organisation International Classification of adult underweight, overweight and obesity. Separate cut-off points by sex and age for each grouping are used for children aged 2 to 17 years, based on the corresponding scores for adults 18 years and over for each grouping. For more information, see Body Mass and Physical Measures and Appendix 4: Classification of BMI for children.
BMI scores are derived for measured height and weight.
Cause of condition
This was asked in respect of all the current long-term conditions which the respondent had previously reported. This refers to the respondent's perception of whether the condition was the result of an injury, and/or whether the condition was work-related (including injury at work).
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is the occurrence of chronic bronchitis or emphysema, a pair of commonly co-existing diseases, of the lungs in which airways become narrowed.
Covers all diseases and related problems of the circulatory system. Includes specific conditions such as:
For the purposes of condition status items in this survey this also includes high cholesterol. See also Heart, stroke and vascular diseases.
In this survey, co-morbid conditions refers to two or more medical conditions which a respondent has reported as current long-term conditions they have.
See long-term medical condition.
Condition status brings together information about whether or not a person has ever been told by a doctor or nurse they have a condition, whether a condition was current at the time of the survey, and if current whether the condition was long-term (i.e. had lasted or was expected to last for 6 months or more).
Current daily smoker
A current daily smoker is an adult who reported that they regularly smoked one or more tobacco cigarettes, cigars or pipes per day. See also Smoker status.
A facility where a medical procedure is performed and patients are discharged on the same day.
Days away from work or study
Refers to days on which the respondent was away from work, school or other educational institution for at least half the day.
Days out of role
Days away from work or school/study, and other days of reduced activity due to own illness or injury or to care for someone else.
Diastolic blood pressure
Measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes before the next beat. It is the lower number of the blood pressure reading.
A conditions characterised by excessive thirst and excretion of large amounts of severely diluted urine, with reduction of fluid intake having no effect on the concentration of the urine. Diabetes insipidus is a completely different condition to diabetes mellitus.
A chronic condition in which blood glucose levels become too high due to the body producing little or no insulin, or not using insulin properly.
This term refers to usual daily serves of fruit, usual daily serves of vegetables, use of salt and whether it is iodised (i.e. containing iodine) and the main type of milk usually consumed. Usual daily serves of fruit and vegetables are listed separately in this Glossary. See also Inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption.
A disability or restrictive long-term health condition exists if a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder, which restricts everyday activities, has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more.
It is classified by whether or not a person has a specific limitation or restriction. Specific limitation or restriction is further classified by whether the limitation or restriction is a limitation in core activities or a schooling/employment restriction only.
There are four levels of core activity limitation (profound, severe, moderate and mild), which are based on whether a person needs help or has difficulty with or uses aids or equipment for self care, mobility or communication. A person's overall level of core activity limitation is determined by their highest level of limitation in these activities.
Persons aged 15 and over who had a job or business, or who undertook work without pay in a family business for a minimum of one hour per week. Includes persons who were absent from a job or business. See also Unemployed and Not in the labour force.
Equivalisation is a process whereby reported household income is adjusted to take account of the size and composition of the household. For further details see Chapter 6: Population characteristics.
Based on frequency, intensity (i.e. walking, moderate exercise and vigorous exercise) and duration of exercise (for recreation, sport or fitness) in the last week prior to the interview. From these components, an exercise score was derived using factors to represent the intensity of the exercise:
Scores are calculated using the following formula:
Scores were grouped into the following four categories:
Inadequate exercise levels are sedentary and low exercise levels. Sedentary refers to sitting in one place for extended periods of time. See also Physical Activity guidelines, and Exercise for more detail.
Any of the following events or circumstances which the person considers have been a problem for themselves or someone close to them in the last 12 months:
Government health card
Refers to coverage by the following government-issued cards which entitle the card holder, and in some cases their dependents, to a variety of health benefits or concessions (e.g. medical care, hospital treatment/accommodation, supply of pharmaceuticals, free of charge or at reduced rates).
The HbA1c test provides an indication of the presence and management of diabetes. Also referred to as glycated haemoglobin, it measures the amount of glucose in the blood that binds to the haemoglobin present in red blood cells. If glucose amounts are below 7% and stable then tests should be performed ever 6 months; if they are higher than that then tests should be performed every 3 months.
Health risk factors
Specific lifestyle related factors impacting on health, including:
Heart, stroke and vascular conditions
A subset of reported long-term conditions comprising the following:
Herbal and natural medications
Herbal and natural medications as reported by respondents. The data covers herbal and natural medications used in the previous 2 weeks for any condition. Where possible the Therapeutic Goods Administration Aust L number was collected and coded to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System.
High blood pressure
A measured blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg (millimetres of mercury) or higher in either one.
Health insurance provided by a private health insurance organisation to cover all or part of the costs of private accommodation in a public hospital, charges for private hospital treatment and care in a public hospital by a doctor of the patients choice.
A household is defined as one or more persons, at least one of whom is at least 15 years of age, usually resident in the same private dwelling.
Reported as the sum of the personal cash incomes of all household members aged 15 years and over. Household income is available in dollar amounts and deciles/quintiles, in reported and equivalised form. For further details see: Chapter 6: Population characteristics.
Refers to the composition of the household to which the respondent belonged: for further details see: Chapter 6: Population characteristics.
High sugar levels in blood or urine.
ICD-10 refers to the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems. The classification of long-term conditions most commonly used in output from the 2011-13 AHS was developed for use in this survey based on the ICD-10: see: Appendix 2: Classification of medical conditions.
Inadequate Fruit or Vegetable Intake
This refers to inadequate fruit or vegetable dietary intake as reported by the respondent, based on the NHMRC Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults and Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia.
Incidence refers to the number of new cases of a particular characteristic, such as cancer, which occur within a certain period. This differs from prevalence, which refers to the number of cases of a particular characteristic that are present in a population at one point in time.
Index of disadvantage
This is one of four Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFAs) compiled by ABS following each Census of Population and Housing, from various characteristics of persons resident in particular areas. The Index of Disadvantage summarises attributes such as income, educational attainment, unemployment and occupation skill levels. For further information see: Chapter 6: Population characteristics..
Refers to people who identified themselves, or were identified by another household member, as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.
An inpatient is someone who is admitted to hospital and stayed for at least one night. Admission to hospital requires an admission note and once a person has been admitted they remain an inpatient until they have been discharged.
Ischaemic heart disease
A disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle.
In the labour force
People who, during the reference week, were employed or unemployed, as defined (See also Labour force status).
A subset of symptoms including:
Kessler 10 (K10)
See Psychological distress.
Labour force status
Refers to the employment situation of respondents at the time of the survey. Categories are:
Level of highest non-school educational qualification
The level of the highest educational qualification obtained other than school qualification; may include non-school qualification obtained while still at school.
Long-term medical condition
A medical condition (illness, injury or disability) which has lasted at least six months, or which the respondent expects to last for six months or more. Some reported conditions were assumed to be long-term, including:
Main language spoken at home
Refers to the language reported by the respondent as the main language they speak at home.
Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) or intensity values are a measure of the energy expenditure required to carry out exercise, expressed as a multiple of the resting metabolic rate (RMR). MET is defined as the ratio of metabolic rate (and therefore the rate of energy consumption) during a specific physical activity to a reference rate of metabolic rate at rest. MET or intensity values operate as a factor when determining level of exercise. The 2011-12 NHS used the following intensity factors - 3.5 for walking, 5.0 for moderate exercise and 7.5 for vigorous exercise. MET values of physical activities range from 0.9 (sleeping) to 18 (running at 17.5 km/h). See Chapter 4: Health Risk Behaviours.
Exercise for recreation, sport or fitness which caused a moderate increase in heart rate or breathing.
National Health Measures Survey (NHMS)
The National Health Measures Survey, which is sometimes referred to as the biomedical component of the AHS, focused on early lifestyle related diseases through blood and urine testing. Information was collected on:
Respondents, were those people aged five years and over, who were selected for either NHS or NNPAS and agreed to also participate in the NHMS. Children aged 5 to 11 were only asked to provide urine samples.
National Health Survey (NHS)
The National Health Survey focused on collecting information on:
National Health Priority Areas (NHPA)
National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS)
The National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey focused on collecting information on:
A neoplasm is a new growth of abnormal tissue (a tumour). Tumours can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Cancer refers to several diseases and can affect most types of cells in various parts of the body.
Not in the labour force
Persons aged 15 years or older who are not employed or unemployed as defined, including persons who:
A swelling of any organ or tissue due to accumulation of excess fluid.
An outpatient is a patient who is not hospitalised, but visits a hospital for diagnosis or treatment.
A condition that thins and weakens bone mineral density, generally caused by loss of calcium, which leads to increased risk of fracture.
Other health professionals (OHP)
Any medication used in the two weeks prior to interview for the treatment of any medical condition. Does not include medications identified by respondents as vitamins or minerals, or natural or herbal medications. See Type of medication.
The number of cases of a particular characteristic (e.g. a specific long-term condition such as cancer) that are present in a population at one point in time. This differs from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases of a particular characteristic occurring within a certain period.
Private health insurance
Refers to the private health insurance coverage at the time of the survey of persons aged 18 years or more. The category 'With cover' includes those with hospital and/or ancillary cover, and those with cover whose type of cover was unknown.
A proxy is a person who answers the survey questions when the person selected for the interview is incapable of answering for themselves. Reasons the selected person may not be able to answer for themselves include illness/injury or language difficulties. A proxy also answers on behalf of a child under 15 years of age; or for a child aged 15-17 years when parental consent is not given to interview them personally.
Derived from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale -10 items (K10). This is a scale of non-specific psychological distress based on 10 questions about negative emotional states in the four weeks prior to interview. The K10 is scored from 10 to 50, with higher scores indicating a higher level of distress. For the AHS, scores are grouped as follows:
Data is only collected from respondents aged 18 years and over. Answers can not be provided by a proxy.
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption
This is a combination of Moderate (or 'Risky') and High alcohol risk consumption levels. For further information see: Alcohol consumption risk level.
Four Indexes compiled by the ABS following each population Census. Each index summarises different aspects of the socio-economic condition of areas. The Index of Disadvantage is the SEIFA index most frequently used in health analysis.
The Indexes available for use with 2011-12 N012HS data are those compiled from the 2001 and 2006 Census of Population and Housing. The Index scores have been mapped to the NHS sample at both the CD and SLA levels. For further information about the indexes, see Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing - Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, Australia (ABS cat. no. 2039.0).
Self-assessed health status
A person's general assessment of their own health being:
To determine whether a difference between two survey estimates is a real difference in the populations to which the estimates relate, or merely the product of different sampling variability, the statistical significance of the difference can be tested. This is particularly useful for interpreting apparent changes in estimates over time. The test is done by calculating the standard error of the difference between two estimates and then dividing the actual difference by the standard error of the difference. If the result is greater than 1.96, there are 19 chances in 20 that there is a real difference in the populations to which the estimates relate. For further information see: Chapter 7: Data quality and interpretation of results.
The extent to which a person aged 15 years and over was smoking at the time of interview, referring to regular smoking of tobacco, including manufactured (packet) cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars and pipes, but excluding chewing tobacco and smoking of non-tobacco products. Categorised as:
Systolic blood pressure
Measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps blood during each beat. It is the higher number of the blood pressure reading.
Type of condition
The type of medical condition as reported by respondents and/or office coded by ABS from the description provided by respondents. All reported long-term medical conditions are coded to a classification developed by the ABS for use in the Australian Health Survey based on the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems (ICD-10). See also ICD-10.
Type of medication
Obtained for medication reported as used in the two weeks prior to interview for any medical condition. Included are vitamins and minerals, natural and herbal medication and pharmaceutical medication. Pharmaceutical medications are classified by generic type, based on reported medication name. The generic drug name is the non-proprietary name for the active chemicals in a medicine, in contrast to the proprietary name (trade or brand name) for a medicine. For further information see Appendix 3: Classification of Medications.
Type of medication used for mental health and well-being
Refers to the type of medication reported as used for mental health or well-being in the 2 weeks prior to interview. May include medications used for preventive health purposes as well as medications used for mental disorders, and includes vitamins and minerals, natural and herbal medications and pharmaceutical medications. Two items relating to type of medication are available for those with a mental health condition and for everyone aged 18 years and over related to psychological distress:
Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed and were actively looking for work in the four weeks prior to the survey, and available to start work in the week prior to the survey. For further information see: Chapter 6: Population characteristics.
Usual daily intake of fruit
Refers to the number of serves of fruit (excluding drinks) usually consumed each day, as reported by the respondent. A serve is approximately 150 grams of fresh fruit or 50 grams of dried fruit. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends a minimum of one serve of fruit per day for children aged 4 to 11 years, three serves of fruit per day for children aged 12 to 17 years, and two serves of fruit per day for adults.
Usual daily intake of vegetables
Refers to the number of serves of vegetables (excluding drinks and beverages) usually consumed each day, as reported by the respondent. A serve is approximately half a cup of cooked vegetables or one cup of salad vegetables - equivalent to approximately 75 grams. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends:
Exercise for fitness, recreation or sport which caused a large increase in heart rate or breathing.
Vitamin and mineral supplements
Vitamin and mineral supplements taken by respondents in the previous 2 weeks for any condition.
Waist circumference is associated with an increased risk of metabolic complications associated with obesity. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) approved the following guidelines for men and women:
Work related conditions
Long-term medical conditions reported in the survey which the respondent reported as work related; may include conditions arising from injuries at work (e.g. repetitive strain injury).
Year of arrival
The year in which a person, reporting a country of birth other than Australia, first arrived in Australia to live for a period of one year or more
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This page last updated 4 April 2013