Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Australians' attitudes about the health system improve!

In recent weeks, two important surveys have been released that provide insight into the health of Australians and their beliefs about the health system - The Menzies-Nous Australian Health Survey and the Australian Health Survey. These surveys highlight areas of success and opportunities for further work to be done. The key findings from the two surveys are outlined below.



Menzies-Nous Australian Health Survey - The full report can be found here

How did Australians rate their health in 2012? 

  • The majority of Australians rated their health as excellent, very good or good (86%)
  • Younger Australians were more likely to rate their own health positively
  • Higher levels of financial stress were associated with lower ratings of personal health
  • Higher levels of education were associated with more positive health ratings
Has this changed since surveys conducted in 2008 and 2010?

  • The ratings by Australians of their own health improved slightly between 2008 and 2012
How did Australians rate the health system in 2012? 

  • Australians expressed a high level of confidence in the health care system. Over 85% of Australians expressed confidence in how the health care system would serve them if they were severely ill
  • General Practitioners and pharmacies were the most highly used health care services in Australia between July 2011 and July 2012. Pharmacists had the highest rating of services as good-excellent. Services offered by mental health providers received the lowest rating. Australians were most satisfied with their recent visit to a pharmacy. They were least satisfied with their last visit to a residential aged-care facility or nursing home
  • Australians living in capital cities generally had a more positive view of the health care system
  • The need for more doctors, nurses and other health workers was identified as the area of the health system needing the most improvement
  • Australians under high levels of financial stress were substantially less confident in being able to afford the care they needed compared with those with no financial stress. They were also more likely to use mental health providers and less likely to use dentists
Has this changed since surveys conducted in 2008 and 2010?
  • Australians have a more positive view of the healthcare system compared to 2008
  • Australians rated the services offered by dentists lower in 2012 compared to 2012
  • Accessibility to General Practitioners did not change significantly in 2012 when compared with 2010, both for waiting time for an appointment and for after-horus acccess

Australian Health Survey - The full report can be found here.


Have risk factors changed since 2007-08?

Tobacco smoking - Rates of daily smoking have continued to drop to 2.8 million people (16.3%) aged 18 years and over in 2011-12 from 18.9% in 2007-08 and 22.4% in 2001.

Alcohol consumption

  • The proportion of people aged 18 years and over who consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average, exceeding the National Health and Medical Research Council lifetime risk guidelines decreased to 19.5% in 2011-12 from 20.9% in 2007-08
  • 44.7% of people aged 18 years and over consumed more than four standard drinks at least once in the past year, exceeding the National Health and Medical Research Council single occasion risk guidelines
Overweight and obesity
  • Prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults aged 18 years and over has continued to rise to 63.4% in 2011-12 from 61.2% in 2007-08 and 56.3% in 1995
  • However the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children aged 5-17 has remained stable at 25.3% in 2011-12

Physical measurements
  • In 2011-12, the average Australian man (18 years and over) was 175.6 cm tall and weighed 85.9 kg. The average Australian woman was 161.8 cm tall and weighed 71.1 kg
  • Between 1995 and 2011-12 the average height for men increased by 0.8 cm for men and 0.4 cm for women
  • Between 1995 and 2011-12 the average weight for men increased by 3.9 kg for men and 4.1 kg for women

Waist circumference
  • In 2012-12, 60.3% of men aged 18 years and over had a waist circumference that put them at an increased risk of developing chronic disease, while 66.6% of women had an increased level of risk
  • On average, men had a waist measurement of 97.9 cm while women had a waist measurement of 87.7 cm

Blood pressure - In 2011-12, just over 3.1 million people (21.5%) aged 18 years and over had measured high blood pressure (systolic or diastolic blood pressure equal to or greater than 140/90 mmHg)



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