Annual health survey’s key results published Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Ministry of Health has published key Tier 1 statistics from the New Zealand Health Survey 2016/17. On 14 December the Ministry will release a further 200 health indicators using an interactive data tool. The Health Survey collects information on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders which helps the Ministry identify key issues and monitor trends.

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 that were conducted between July 2016 and June 2017. Over 13,000 adults, and the parents or primary caregivers of over 4,000 children took part in the survey.

Highlights include:

98.1% of parents rate their children as being in good health, 88.2% of adults rate their own health as good.

The current smoking rate has decreased from 20.1% in 2006/07 to 15.7% in 2016/17, and the rate for 15-17 year-olds has reduced from 15.7% in 2006/07 to 3.9%.

79.3% of adults consumed alcohol in the last year, down from 83.6% in 2006/07.

Challenges remain:

Obesity levels are, however, on the increase - 99,000 children, 12.3% of those aged 2 to 14 are obese, up from 8.4% in 2006/07, and 1.2 million adults or 32.2% of the adult population are obese - up from 26.5% in 2006/07.

About 290,000 adults, or 7.6% of New Zealand's population, experienced high levels of mental distress in the four weeks before they were interviewed.

Only 3.0% of children were not able to visit a GP when they needed to, due to cost; however cost of visiting a GP was a barrier for 14.3% of adults.

About 7% of adults and 3.9% of children could not afford to collect a prescription; this is an improvement on 6.6% for children from 2011/12 statistics (2006/07 statistics are not available).

One in five adults (19.5%) have a hazardous drinking pattern.

Further information can be found in the online data tables for the Tier 1 statistics.