The 2004–05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) sample covered usual residents of private dwellings only.
Private dwellings are houses, flats, home units and any other structures used as private places of residence at the time of the survey.
Usual residents are those people who usually live in a particular dwelling and regard it as their own or main home.
Usual residents of 'special' dwellings such as hotels, motels, hostels and hospitals were not included in the survey.
Visitors to private dwellings were also excluded from the survey as well as persons whose usual place of residence was outside Australia.
Data collection was undertaken by ABS interviewers. Persons aged 18 years or more were interviewed personally, with the exception of persons who were too sick or otherwise unable to respond personally. Persons aged 15 to 17 years were interviewed with the consent of a parent or guardian. If consent wasn't obtained a parent or guardian was interviewed on their behalf.
For persons aged less than 15 years, information was obtained from a person responsible for the child. Information about the dwelling, the financial situation of the household, and income for those who had not been selected was collected from a nominated household spokesperson.
A total of 10,439 Indigenous persons, or about 1 in 45 of the total Indigenous population from across Australia, responded to the 2004–05 NATSIHS or the 2004–05 National Health Survey (NHS). Corresponding information for the non-Indigenous population, and data from the NHS, have been included for comparative purposes.
There were a number of differences between the data collection methods used in remote communities (in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory) and those used in other geographic areas. In remote communities, the standard household survey approaches were modified to take account of language and cultural issues.
Interviews were conducted using a paper questionnaire. In addition, interviewers worked in teams of two, one male and one female, to collect the survey information. Male interviewers collected personal information from male respondents, and female interviewers collected personal information from female respondents.
The interviewers were accompanied in the communities, wherever possible, by local Indigenous facilitators, preferably one male and one female, who assisted in the conduct and completion of the interviews. The Indigenous facilitators explained the purpose of the survey to respondents, introduced the interviewers, assisted in identifying the usual residents of a household and in locating residents who were not at home, and assisted respondent understanding of the questions where necessary.
The survey content in these remote communities excluded topics for which data of acceptable quality could not be collected. Some questions were reworded to assist respondents in understanding the concepts. Information on substance use was not collected. Only a subset of the supplementary women's health topics was collected. This was done through personal interview with adult female respondents who were informed of the potential sensitivity and voluntary nature of these questions.
Fruit and vegetables
Whether persons ate fruit and /or vegetables on a daily basis was asked of all persons. However, Indigenous people in remote areas were not asked to specify how many serves of vegetables or fruit they usually ate on a daily basis. In addition, when it was asked, the reliability of data on fruit and vegetable intake may be affected by the respondent's understanding of what constitutes a usual serving size.
The 2004–05 NATSIHS collected information relating to the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise undertaken by Indigenous Australians living in non-remote areas only.
The proportion of people that are overweight or obese within a given population can be determined by first calculating an individual's Body Mass Index (BMI) score (from reported information on height and weight) and then grouping people into BMI categories.
In the 2004–05 NATSIHS and NHS, self reported height and weight measurements were collected for people aged 15 years and over. An option to have height and weight measured was provided in only some remote areas. Therefore, height and weight information could not be obtained for 17% of Indigenous people and 8% of non-Indigenous people. For more information on the BMI, please refer to the Glossary.