Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF) 2012

Technical Appendix—Age-standardisation

The HPF was designed to measure the impact of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (NSFATSIH) and will be an important tool for developing the new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP).

Page last updated: 15 November 2012

Age-standardisation controls for the effect of age, to allow comparisons of summary rates between two populations that have different age structures. Age-standardisation is used throughout this report when comparing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with non-Indigenous Australians for a range of variables where age is a factor e.g., health-related measures. The main disadvantages with age-standardisation are that the resulting rates are not the real or 'reported' rates for the population. Age-standardised rates are therefore only meaningful as a means of comparison. Lastly, for age-standardisation to be effective, the relationship between age and the variable needs to be approximately consistent between the two populations.

Age-standardised rates are generally derived for all age groups. However, in some cases in the Health Performance Framework report, the age-standardised rates were calculated for a particular age range in order to support study of a specific population group (for instance, the age-standardised data for some mortality indicators were derived for the age range 0–74).