The Ministry of Health has today published key Tier 1 statistics from the New Zealand Health Survey 2017/18. The Health Survey collects information on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders, and helps the Ministry identify key issues and monitor trends.
The annual Tier 1 statistics give a picture of New Zealanders’ self-rated health, smoking, drinking, obesity and mental health status, as well as information on cost barriers to people accessing GP care and collecting prescriptions. Some comparisons are available now over 10 years.
The statistics are based on face-to-face interviews conducted between July 2017 and June 2018. Approximately 13,000 adults, and the parents or primary caregivers of over 4,000 children took part in the latest survey.
88% of adults reported their health to be ‘good, very good or excellent’ and 98% of parents rated their child’s health as ‘good, very good or excellent’.
Unfilled prescription due to cost
There has been a decrease in the percentage of children having a prescription not collected due to cost. About 28,000 children (3.0%) had a prescription that was not collected due to cost in the past year, down from 6.6% in 2011/12.
About 257,000 adults (6.6%) reported not collecting a prescription due to cost in the past year.
Unmet need for GP services due to cost
Around one in seven adults (15%) reported not visiting a GP due to cost in the past year, which is not significantly different from 2011/12. Cost was much less likely to be a barrier for older adults, with 6.8% of those aged 65–74 years and 5.5% of those aged 75 years and over reporting unmet need for this reason.
Only 2.0% of children did not visit a GP due to cost in the past year, down from 4.7% in 2011/12.
There has been a decrease in reported smoking for adults, including Māori adults; about 581,000 adults (15%) were current smokers, down from 20% in 2006/07.
33% of Māori adults were current smokers, down from 42% in 2006/07.
The most substantial reduction in the current smoking rate since 2006/07 has been for 15- to 17-year-olds, with 3.6% smoking in 2017/18, compared with 16% in 2006/07.
About 101,000 children aged 2–14 years (12.4%) were obese. The child obesity rate has not changed significantly since 2011/12 (when it was 10.7%) but has increased from 2006/07 when it was 8.4%.
Children living in the most socio-economically deprived neighbourhoods were 2.1 times as likely to be obese as children living in the least deprived neighbourhoods, after adjusting for age, sex and ethnic differences.
1.26 million adults (32%) were obese, up from 27% in 2006/07.
8.6% of adults reported experiencing psychological distress in the four weeks prior to the survey, up from 7.6% in 2016/17 and from 6.6% in 2006/07. Psychological distress rates are highest among young adults.
About four in five adults (79%) consumed alcohol in the past year.
Over half (57%) of 15-17 year olds consumed alcohol in the past year.
One in five adults (20%) drank alcohol in a way that could harm themselves or others, and hazardous drinking rates were higher in men (27%) than women (13%).
The Health Survey’s 2017/18 Annual Data Explorer, to be released in March 2019, will provide a more detailed snapshot of the health of New Zealanders. At that time, there will be publication of around 150 indicators on health behaviours, health status and access to health care for both adults and children.
Further details on today’s data release can be found at Tier 1 statistics 2017/18: New Zealand Health Survey.