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4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2013   
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Contents >> Health related actions >> Healthy lifestyles

HEALTHY LIFESTYLES

Definition

This topic refers to information collected about respondents' consultations with General Practitioners (GPs), specialists, dentists and or other health professionals, use of medical facilities such as admissions to hospital, visits to outpatients, emergency/casualty and day clinics, and time away from work or study/school due to illness or injury.

Population

Information was obtained for all persons in the NHS.

Methodology

Respondents were asked whether they had taken any of the following actions in the last 12 months:

  • consulted a GP;
  • consulted a specialist;
  • consulted a dentist;
  • consulted other health professional;
  • admitted to hospital as an inpatient;
  • visited an outpatient clinic;
  • visited emergency/casualty; and,
  • visited a day clinic.

More than one response was allowed.

Respondents were then asked whether they had consulted any of the following other health professionals (excluding any time spent in hospital) in the last 12 months:
  • Aboriginal Health Worker;
  • accredited counsellor;
  • acupuncturist;
  • alcohol and drug worker;
  • audiologist/audiometrist;
  • chemist (for advice only);
  • chiropodist/podiatrist;
  • chiropractor;
  • diabetes educator;
  • dietitian/nutritionist;
  • naturopath;
  • herbalist;
  • hypnotherapist;
  • nurse;
  • occupational therapist;
  • optician/optometrist;
  • osteopath;
  • physiotherapist/hydrotherapist;
  • psychologist;
  • social worker/welfare officer;
  • speech therapist/pathologist; and,
  • other.

More than one response was allowed.

For the health actions above that respondents said they had taken within the last 12 months, the respondents were asked whether they had visited /attended those particular health professionals/medical facilities in the last 2 weeks. Those who had seen a specialist in the last 2 weeks were asked the number of times they had visited a specialist in the last 2 weeks.

Respondents aged 15 years and over who had consulted a GP in the last 12 months were asked if they had discussed any of the following lifestyle issues with their GP in the last 12 months prior to interview:
  • reducing or quitting smoking;
  • drinking alcohol in moderation;
  • reaching a healthy weight;
  • increasing physical activity;
  • eating healthy food or improving their diet;
  • family planning; or
  • safe sexual practices.

Where this question was asked of a respondent aged 15-17 years, the interviewer was asked to identify whether a parent or guardian was present during the interview.

Respondents who did not report visiting a GP in the last 12 months were then asked when they last consulted a GP for their own health. Response categories were:

  • 1 year to 2 years ago;
  • more than 2 years ago;
  • never; or,
  • don't know.

Similarly, respondents who did not report visiting a dentist or dental health professional were asked when they last visited (using the response categories as above).

Respondents who had visited a dentist or dental professional in the last 12 months were asked the number of visits in the last 12 months and when the last visit occurred. Response categories were:
  • less than 3 months ago;
  • 3 to 6 months ago;
  • 6 to 9 months ago;
  • 9 to 12 months ago; or,
  • don't know.

Respondents who were working, studying or at school were asked whether they had taken time off work or study/school for more than half a day in the last 2 weeks as a result of illness or injury, or to care for someone else because they were sick or injured. If so, they were asked the number of days they stayed away. In cases where a respondent had identified that they were working or studying/at school, they were asked for each.

Data items

Data items and related output categories for this topic will be available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.

Interpretation

Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following:
  • While efforts were made in the survey questionnaire to ensure only illness or injury-related days away from work or study/school were recorded, and only days for which more than half a day's absence was involved, some mis-reporting may have occurred.
  • Questions about days away from work or study/school for a respondent's own illness and/or caring purposes were not exclusive. It is not possible to determine a total count of days away, as it is not possible to determine whether there are overlapping days (for example, where respondents were away from both work and study/school on the same day, or where they were away for their own illness and caring purposes on the same day).
  • Questions about days away from work were not asked in terms of a particular job. For persons with more than one job, the days away from work may not necessarily relate to the respondent's main job. While the effect of this is expected to be minor, it should be considered when, for example, analysing information on days away from work against reported occupation or industry of main job.
  • Respondents may have had days away because of more than one condition at the same time, therefore number of days away for different conditions cannot be added together for total number of days away.

Comparability with 2007-08

The 2011-12 Healthy Lifestyles module was considerably larger than the 2007-08 equivalent. In 2011-12, more information was included about visits to medical professionals, medical facilities and time away from work, study or school due to illness or injury. In addition, in 2011-12 the majority of Healthy Lifestyle questions were asked of all persons, whereas in 2007-08 questions were only asked of persons aged 15 years and over.

The following questions included additional options in 2011/12 as listed below.
  • Whether respondent discussed any lifestyle issues with their GP in the last 12 months. The following options were added to the 2011-12 list:
    • family planning; and
    • safe sexual practices.
  • Whether respondent consulted any health professionals in the last 12 months, excluding time spent in hospital, apart from a GP or specialist. The following health professionals were added to the 2011-12 list:
    • Aboriginal Health Worker;
    • alcohol and drug worker;
    • audiologist;
    • herbalist;
    • hypnotherapist; and
    • speech therapist/pathologist.


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