Social distribution of health risks and health outcomes: preliminary analysis of the National Health Survey 2007-08

Nutrition Well-being Medicine Social issues Australia

This paper explores the association between selected social and health risk factors on Australians' health. It shows that people with higher household incomes and higher education qualifications are more likely to report better health and less likely to report smoking, and people living outside major cities are more likely to report being an unhealthy weight.

Using data from the 2007–08 National Health Survey (NHS), the effect of social factors on four measures of health status (self-reported health status; cancer; heart, stroke and vascular diseases; and Type 2 diabetes) and three health risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption and body weight) is examined. Two different statistical methods (univariate and multivariate analysis) were used to examine associations between social factors and the selected diseases and risk factors.
Where people are born, grow, live, work and age affects their health status (Marmot 2004). This paper is an initial exploration to investigate the association between selected social factors and health status. Despite the data limitations, it shows some statistical associations between selected socioeconomic characteristics (social factors) and health conditions and health risk factors.
The social factors investigated were post-school qualification, equivalised household income (income adjusted for the size of the household), occupation category, remoteness and language spoken at home. The effect of sex and age on health status was also investigated.

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