Health snapshots across ACT

The Epidemiology Branch of the ACT Health Directorate have released the 2007-2009 Health Snapshot Series outlining demographic characteristics, morbidity and health risk factors and mortality across seven sub divisions of the ACT including North Canberra, South Canberra, Woden Valley, Belconnen, Weston Creek-Stromlo, Tuggeranong and Gunghalin-Hall. These individual sub division snapshots have also been collated into the eighth snapshot which compares the demographic and health status of the subdivisions across the ACT.an

This information was collected from a General Health Survey over 3 years involving 3700 ACT residents with representation within each subdivision ranging from 260 to 990 people. Information was also taken from mortality and hospitalisation data sets.

The snapshots make for interesting reading if you are wanting to understand more about the area in which you live.

Some of the demographic findings are:

  • Belconnen and Tuggeranong were the most populous of the 7 subdivisions
  • Gunghalin-Hall had the largest proportion (25%) of children up to 14yrs
  • Woden had highest proportion of older people (16%) followed by Weston Creek and South Canberra
  • Over half of ACT indigenous people lived in Tuggeranong
  • North Canberra had the highest proportion of suburbs in the two most socially disadvantaged quintiles
  • Guinghalinhad the highest proportions of suburbs in the two most advantaged ACT quintiles with 75% of its suburbs in these quintiles

some of the morbidity findings are

  • Overall ACT males (17%) had higher smoking rates that females (13%)
  • Gunghalin-Hall and Weston Crk had the lowest rates if risky alcoholic drinking with South and North Canberra the highest
  • all areas had poor consumption of vegetables but did better with fruit intake
  • with the exception of North and South Canberra over half ACT residents were overweight or obese.
  • psychological distress was high in Gunghalin-Hall and lowest in Weston Crk
  • about 1/4 of people over the age of 65 years had experienced a fall in the last 12 months

In relation to hospital activity

  • Woden, Weston Creek and South Canberra had the highest rates of hospitalisation
  • Gunghalin had the highest rates of pregnancy related hospitalisations
  • self-harm related hospitalisation were highest in North Canberra and lowest in Gunghalin and Weston creek

and finally in relation to deaths

  • The highest rates of deaths per 1000 were in South Canberra (10.0), Weston creek (6.2), Woden (6.0) and North Canberra (5.6)
  • Belconnen accounted for 32% of suicides
  • 1/3 of suicides occurred in people aged over 55 years with 65% occurring in the 25-54 year age group.

This type of information is invaluable to government and the non-government sector, particularly as we continue work to refine the  policy direction for dealing with some of the impacts we will see on the health system into the future that is clearly coming through this data – particularly in relation to healthy eating, smoking rates, drinking rates and concerns about healthy weight rates.

To see the whole series go to http://health.act.gov.au/health-services/public-health/epidemiology-branch/epidemiology-publications-health-series/health-snapshots-by-sub-division