EXPERT REACTION: National health survey: 8 in 10 Aussies have a long term health condition

Eight in ten Australians (81.4 per cent) have at least one long-term health condition, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The National Health Survey 2022 shows how the health of Australians has changed over time. The survey showed that the proportion of adult current daily smokers has more than halved over the last twenty years, but more than one in four adults (26.8 per cent) are drinking more than the Australian guidelines recommend. The most common chronic conditions in Australia in 2022 were mental and behavioural conditions, back problems, arthritis and asthma.  

Organisation/s: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Media release

From: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Proportion of smokers halves over the last twenty years

15/12/2023

National Health Survey, 2022

The proportion of adult current daily smokers has more than halved over the last twenty years, from 22.4 per cent in 2001 to 10.6 per cent in 2022, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Robert Long, ABS director of health statistics, said; “Almost three in five or 58.3 per cent of adults had never smoked, which has gone up in the last decade from 51.1 per cent in 2011–12.

“One in seven adults had used e-cigarettes and vaping devices at least once in their life.”

Mr Long said that the first release of the National Health Survey 2022 offered insights into how the health of Australians has changed over time.

Eight in ten Australians (81.4 per cent) had at least one long-term health condition, and half (49.9 per cent) had at least one selected chronic condition.

“Three in four adults with high measured blood pressure did not report having hypertension. This suggests that many people with high measured blood pressure remain undiagnosed,” Mr Long said.

More than one in four adults (26.8 per cent) exceeded the Australian Adult Alcohol Guideline, reporting that they drank more than 10 standard drinks a week and/or 5 or more drinks on any one day at least monthly. Young adults aged 18–24 years were more likely than any other age group to exceed this amount, with over one in three (36.1 per cent) exceeding the guideline in 2022.

More than four in ten adults (44.1 per cent) were eating the recommended daily intake of fruit, but only 6.5 per cent ate the recommended daily intake of vegetables.

Almost twice the proportion of adults reported that they do not usually eat fruit daily in 2022 when compared to over a decade ago – up from 6.3 per cent in 2011–12 to 12.0 per cent in 2022.

“On average, we were doing 69 minutes of physical activity every day and nearly half of us spent most of our work day sitting,” Mr Long said.

More information can be found from the National Health Survey topic on the ABS website.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have released the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2023 on Thursday 14 December 2023. This report measures the impact of living with illness and injury and dying prematurely for over 200 diseases and injuries in Australia.

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