Australia’s Biggest Health Survey Begins
3 March 2011 at 11:56 am
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is about to start the biggest health survey ever conducted in Australia in conjunction with the National Heart Foundation.
The first Australian Health Survey (AHS) expects to build on previous health surveys allowing comparisons of health information over time such as obesity, smoking, health conditions and how Australians manage their health.
The survey has been planned in consultation with the Department of Health and Ageing and the National Heart Foundation of Australia, who have provided supporting funding for new components of the collection. Planning for the survey began back in May 2010.
Australian Statistician, Brian Pink says it will be the most comprehensive health survey ever undertaken by the ABS and will be an important benchmark to help determine future health strategies.
The survey will include new and better measures of what Australians are eating and how physically active they are. It will also collect other health information, such as whether people have been diagnosed with arthritis or heart disease.
In another first, the survey will also measure chronic disease risk factors such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
In support of the survey, the Heart Foundation's CEO, Dr Lyn Roberts said, “Information from this survey will help improve our understanding of cardiovascular disease, which is currently responsible for one-third of all deaths in Australia. This research has never been more important, so this survey is an investment in the future health of all Australians."
The survey will also ask people to consider a visit to a pathology centre so that information on health risks factors can be derived from blood and urine samples. This will give a more accurate picture of the number of Australians with health issues such as high cholesterol, diabetes risk or poor nutritional status.
Around 50,000 people across Australia will be asked to take part in the survey
The first wave of the survey will be conducted over 2011-12 with results available in late 2012 and will be used by a wide range of health researchers, public health advocates, government, clinicians and community health organisations.
The ABS says the information will be used to identify health issues, design and evaluate new health programs and understand what affects our health.
Further information and detailed questions and answers are available on the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au/australianhealthsurvey