Ok, so the results were released in 2015, but did you ever read the bloody thing? No, because health talk normally equals boring talk. Wrong! The National Health Survey, conducted by the ABS and compared to the results of similar studies dating back as far as the late 1970s, reveal some pretty interesting things about our collective health and wellbeing. So listen up, because health matters.
#1 On The Whole, We’re Pretty Healthy
For people over the age of 15 years and older, an impressive 56.2% of people considered themselves to be really healthy, while 14.8% rated as fair or poor. That’s a comforting start, wouldn’t you agree?
#2 Mental Health Conditions Affect Many Of Us
The survey revealed a total of 17.5% of Aussies were managing long-term mental health and behavioural conditions. That’s a staggering four million people, making it the most common major long-term health condition suffered by Australians. With a statistics like this in mind, it’s clear how important support and advocacy groups such as beyondblue and Lifeline are, as well as awareness campaigns like R U OK Day.
#3 Australians Love A Drink (Maybe Too Much)
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) advises that “drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury”. However, over a quarter of Australian men and one in ten women exceeded the lifetime risk guideline in the 2014-15 survey. The silver lining is that both figures were down slightly from data gathered in 2011-12. Additionally, Western Australia had the highest proportion of adults who drank more than the recommended two standard drinks per day (20.8%). Victoria had the lowest proportion (15.6%).
#4 No Ifs Or Butts About It, We’re Smoking Much Less
Smoking rates have continued to drop over time. 14.5% of Australians smoking every day in 2014-15, down from 22.4% in 2001. Around 16% of young adults (those between the ages of 18 and 44 years) smoke, but that figure is almost half what it was in 2001. You can thank a combination of plain packaging, continued price increases and some powerful Quit campaigns for that.
#5 More Greens, Please
There’s a reason your parents were so rigid about eating vegetables, insisting they alone stood between you and dessert. They’re full of a range of important minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, all of which have positive short and long-term effects on your health. And while most of us claim to be in pretty good health, our average veggie intake would say otherwise. A mere 7% of Australians are fulfilling the recommended daily servings of vegetables. So get to work on making broccoli, kale and zucchini your friends.
Image Source: HSC PDHPE