Australian Bureau of Statistics
4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/06/2013
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BODY MASS AND PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS
In addition, the NHS collected information on perceived change in weight in the last 12 months and the NNPAS collected information on the respondent's satisfaction with their weight, and whether they were on a diet and if so what type.
Body Mass Index (BMI) or Quetelet's index is a useful tool, at a population level, for measuring trends in body weight and helping to define population groups who are at higher risk of developing long-term medical conditions associated with a high BMI, for example Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Waist circumference reflects mainly subcutaneous abdominal fat storage, and according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) joint report has been shown to positively correlate to disease risk. The scale used for determining risky waist circumference is as recommended by the World Health Organisation, (See Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO Consultation, 2000).
Physical measurements were obtained for all persons, excluding pregnant women, aged 2 years and over in the NHS and NNPAS who agreed for the measurements to be taken.
Self-perceived body mass and other survey-specific questions were asked of all persons aged 15 years and over in the NHS and NNPAS.
Information about physical measurements was collected in both the NHS and the NNPAS surveys. Information on physical measurements was first published in the First Results publication based on the NHS only sample of approximately 19,700 people aged 2 years and over. Updated results on physical measures for the larger combined, core sample of approximately 32,000 people aged 2 years and over were published in the Updated Results publication. For comparison of physical measurements with NHS only items, the NHS file should be used and similarly for comparison with NNPAS only items, the NNPAS file should be used. However, for the most accurate information for physical measurements alone or comparison with other items collected in the core, the core file should be used. For more information on the structure of the AHS, see the Structure of the Australian Health Survey page of this Users' Guide.
(a) Child cut-offs identified in this table are in terms of Adult cut-offs. While the formula to calculate BMI scores is the same for adults and children, the classification of children's BMI is different to that of persons aged 18 years and over, and takes into account individual age and sex. BMI cut-off ranges for children 2 to 17 years of age are included in Appendix 4: Classification of BMI for children. Half-year cut-off points are used to calculate children's BMI scores for persons aged 2 to 17. Two versions of the data item are available, one using the mid-year cut-off and one using the whole-year cut-off.
Waist circumference reflects mainly subcutaneous abdominal fat storage, and according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) joint report has been shown to positively correlate to disease risk. The scale used for determining risky waist circumference is as recommended by the WHO, (See Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO Consultation, 2000). As with BMI, the cut-off points in this scale are best used for people of European origin. However, as ethnicity cannot be determined, the same cut-off points are used for all respondents.
Respondents were asked whether they considered themselves to be:
This question was not asked where:
NHS respondents (excluding females identified as currently pregnant) were asked whether, since this time last year, their weight had:
NNPAS respondents were also asked whether they were on any kind of diet to lose weight or for some other health related reason. If they answered yes to being on a diet they were asked about the kind of diet(s) they were on:
Some examples of ‘other’ diets include: Low GI, high carbohydrate, low protein and medical restrictions on specific foods.
NNPAS respondents were then also asked how satisfied they were with their current weight:
The data items and related output categories for this topic are available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.
Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following.
Comparability with 2007-08
Data collected on measured height, weight and waist circumference in the 2011-12 surveys used the same methodology as the 2007-08 NHS survey and is therefore directly comparable. Differences in the equipment used for measurements are not expected to impact comparability.
However when making comparisons it should be noted that the 2011-12 surveys collected measurements from persons aged 2 years and over, whereas in the 2007-08 NHS, measurements were collected from persons aged 5 years and over. Care should be taken to ensure that the correct population has been selected when making comparisons. It should also be noted that in 2011-12, 83.1% of respondents aged 5 years and over had both their height and weight measured compared to 69.1% in 2007-08.
The 2011-12 surveys did not collect self-reported height and weight. Hip measurements were also not collected in 2011-12.
This page last updated 5 March 2015
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