National Monitoring in Public Health Nutrition

This page contains information on the Department's National Nutrition and Physical Activity Surveys

Page last updated: 23 October 2014


2011/13 Australian Health Survey

About the survey

The Australian Health Survey (AHS) is a large, nationally representative survey of the health status of the Australian population. It is the most comprehensive study of the health of Australians ever undertaken.

The AHS was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2011-13 with funding provided through the ABS health survey program, the Department of Health and the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

The AHS expanded the traditional ABS National Health Survey and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey to collect information on physical activity and nutrition behaviours and biomedical measures of nutrition status and chronic disease risk in the general and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. A 2011 paper on the rationale behind the selection of markers of chronic disease and nutrition status included in the biomedical component of the AHS is available from the following links.

Biomedical component of the Australian Health Survey: Public health objectives (PDF 608 KB)
Biomedical component of the Australian Health Survey: Public health objectives (Word 111 KB)

Over 48,000 people participated in the survey comprising around 35,000 from the general population and 13,250 from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Results from the AHS have been progressively released by the ABS since October 2012. For further information on the Australian Health Survey, including survey results, visit the ABS website.

From 2014/15 the ABS National Health Survey will revert to its traditional form. The survey is funded through the Department of Health and the ABS health survey program. It will collect data on health related topics such as long-term health conditions, risk factors, health service usage, medications, physical measures, socioeconomic status and basic measures of nutrition and physical activity in the general population.

2007 Australian National Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey

The Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), each contributed $1 million to fund the 2007 Australian National Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

The CSIRO and the University of South Australia were jointly contracted to implement the survey and report on the results. A steering group of representatives from the funding agencies was established to oversee the survey’s management. In addition, a group of technical and scientific experts provided advice to ensure that the data collection and analysis processes were robust and undertaken independently.

Data from the survey provides the information needed for public and private sectors to work together to develop targeted strategies to address a range of health concerns in children.

In June 2010, the Department of health commissioned the CSIRO to conduct additional analysis of the 2007 Australian National Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey in order to enable comparisons between present data with that of past and future data and to identify additional areas for health promotion with this age group.

The additional analysis builds on the 2007 Main Findings Report and provides more extensive tabulations and examination of the data as identified in the main findings report.

Publications related to the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey: Access to the results database is available through the Australian Social Sciences Data Archive (ASSDA) at the Australian National University.

1995 National Nutrition Survey

The last National Nutrition Survey was conducted in conjunction with the National Health Survey in 1995 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Health. The results were released between 1997 and 1999.

The Australian Food and Nutrition Monitoring Unit were funded by the Department to undertake the National Food and Nutrition Monitoring Project. The Unit was comprised of a consortium of Universities including staff from relevant specialty areas within the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and Deakin University. This survey resulted in a series of reports which provided a basis for a coordinated national food and nutrition information framework and bridged some important gaps in the overall picture of nutrition monitoring and surveillance in Australia.

The publications were developed as a result of consultation with stakeholders through an Advisory Committee comprising of members from the Department of Health, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the University of Queensland, the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and the National Public Health Partnership’s Strategic Inter-Governmental Nutrition Alliance. Additional consultations were conducted for some individual reports including the use of technical working groups, reviewers and contributions from key stakeholders in government and non-government agencies.

A total of 13 publications were produced and are available in PDF format or hard copy.

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