Department of Family and Community Services

1.1 Long term health conditions

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People with a health condition that has lasted or is expected to last for six months or more

Current Position

In 2011-12, 77 percent of NSW women reported one or more long-term health conditions,
compared to 75 percent of men.

Gender gap

  • Women are more likely than men to report long-term health conditions (a two percentage point difference).
The direction of change over time

The gender gap between women and men has decreased since 2007-08. However, this is
because more men reported long-term health conditions, not fewer women. The percentage
of women reporting long-term health conditions has been stable since 2001.

Discussion

Although Australians enjoy long average life expectancy compared to people in other countries, they live with a considerable burden of long-term chronic conditions. Many are related to Australian lifestyles and behaviour.

Table 2.1 indicates the numbers and percentages of women and men suffering common conditions.

Arthritis and long and short-sightedness are long-term conditions affecting women significantly more than men. They are also relatively common conditions. Deafness is significantly more prevalent among men.

Australian Health Survey participants are asked to report medical conditions which they have been told of by a doctor or nurse, which are current and which have lasted, or are expected to last six months or more. The data used for comparison with earlier years is age-standardised.

Year collected: 2011-12.
Data source: ABS (2012) Australian Health Survey 2011-12. Cat no. 4364.0.55.001 and unpublished data.
More information is available at: www.abs.gov.au

Table 2.1 Selected long-term health conditions, women and men, NSW, 2011-12

Health condition

Women %

Men %

Gender gap %

Arthritis

17.1

11.3

5.8

Long sightedness

30.7

24.9

5.8

Short sightedness

26.1

21.2

4.9

Osteoporosis

4.8

1.8

3.0

Mental and behavioural problems

14.1

11.8

2.3

Asthma

10.1

9.1

1.0

Hypertensive disease

10.3

9.5

0.8

Chronic bronchitis or emphysema

2.1

2.1

0

Diabetes mellitus

3.7

4.0

-0.3

Kidney disease

1.0

*0.5

*-0.5

Cancer

*0.6

1.6

*1.0

Heart, stroke and vascular disease

3.9

5.5

-1.6

Hay fever and allergic rhinitis

16.5

14.6

-1.9

Back pain/problem, disc disorder

11.0

13.0

-2.0

Deafness

7.2

12.1

-6.1

Note: Long-term conditions are current medical conditions that have lasted or are expected to last six months or more. Conditions are listed by size of the gender gap. *Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Population: People aged 18 years and over. Source: ABS (2012) Australian Health Survey 2011-12. Cat no. 4364.0.55.001.