Our five-yearly check-up: State of our health

By Martin Johnston

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

AUCKLAND DISTRICT HEALTH BOARD

Adults in the Auckland health district had a noticeably lower-than-average rate of heart attacks and related conditions - 3.5 per cent compared with the national rate of 5.4 per cent - and it may have declined slightly since the previous survey.

The number who smoked daily, at 10 per cent, was below the national rate of 16 per cent and was down from 15 per cent in the earlier survey.

Obesity, at 22 per cent, was significantly below the national rate of 29 per cent and little changed from 2006/7.

At 57 per cent, fruit and vegetable consumption was below the national rates of 58 per cent (fruit) and 68 per cent (veges) for compliance with the recommended intakes.

Central Aucklanders are significantly less physically active than the national population, with 46 per cent completing the recommended amount of activity, compared with 54 per cent nationally.

This may have been four percentage points higher than in the previous survey.

WAITEMATA DHB

The Waitemata health district encompasses many of the country's wealthier areas, and this is reflected in the health of its people and their lifestyle.

The rate of smoking, at 13 per cent, down slightly from the 2006-07 survey, is well below the national average of 16 per cent.

About 23 per cent are obese, up from 21 per cent and markedly less than the national rate of 29 per cent. Diabetes has declined to 3 per cent, from 4 per cent, and is certainly less than the national average of 5.5 per cent.

Against the national trend, the percentage of adults meeting the fruit and vegetable intake guidelines declined slightly, to 57 and 56 per cent respectively - compared with the national figures of 58 and 68 per cent.

Compliance with physical activity recommendations declined to 46 per cent, compared with 49 per cent in the previous survey and 54 per cent nationally.

The diagnosed stroke rate, at 0.9 per cent, is half the national rate, and the proportion on drugs for high blood pressure, at 12 per cent, is also much lower than the all-New Zealand adult rate which is 16 per cent.

COUNTIES-MANUKAU DHB

Several health indicators went the wrong way between 2006/7 and the latest national health survey in 2011/12.

About 8 per cent had been diagnosed with diabetes, the latest survey found - no change since the previous survey, but the highest among the main district health boards and well above the national average of 5.5 per cent.

Obesity prevalence, at 38 per cent, may have increased from 33 per cent, and remains highest in this area, far above the national rate of 29 per cent.

Vegetable consumption fell sharply, 42 per cent reporting that they ate the recommended three or more servings a day, down from 52 per cent.

Physical activity fell sharply too - against the national trend - with just 41 per cent saying they had done the recommended 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity on at least five out of seven days. In the earlier survey the figure was 55 per cent.

On the bright side, Counties Manukau adults had a much lower rate of depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety disorder, at 9 per cent, against the national rate of 16 per cent.

WAIKATO DHB

The health and lifestyle behaviour of Waikato DHB adults reflected the national rates on most measures except obesity and dental care - but with several large variations since the previous survey.

With 35 per cent obese, Waikato was significantly above the national rate of 29 per cent - and also significantly above its own rate of 29 per cent five years earlier.

Among adults with their own teeth, Waikato people were significantly less likely than the national population to have visited a dental health practitioner within the preceding 12 months (44 per cent compared with 49 per cent).

The proportion taking medicine for blood pressure increased significantly between the two survey periods, from 13 per cent to 20 per cent. And those on drugs for high cholesterol increased markedly - from 8 per cent to 12 per cent.

On both of those measures, the Waikato population may have had higher rates than the national averages.

CAPITAL & COAST DHB

The people of Wellington city and the Kapiti Coast have their smoking rates well down and they like their fruit, but they seem to have a growing affinity for rest and relaxation too.

The daily smoking rate was 12 per cent - compared with 16 per cent nationally - although this is unchanged since the earlier survey.

Fruit intake may have increased from 63 per cent compliance with the guideline, to 66 per cent, which is above the national rate of 58 per cent.

Physical activity, however, may have slumped from 45 per cent compliance with the guideline to 41 per cent, well below the national average of 54 per cent.

Obesity may be slightly better than average in the capital, at 26 per cent compared with 29 per cent nationally, although this may be up from 23 per cent five years earlier.

Arthritis had been diagnosed in 11 per cent, well below the national prevalence of 15 per cent.

This district was also well below the national rate for diagnosed heart attacks and related conditions, at 3.7 per cent against 5.4 per cent.

BAY OF PLENTY/LAKES

What distinguishes these two districts from the pack is that their people are more likely to be on cholesterol-lowering drugs and be less psychologically distressed - and they eat their greens.

Obesity, at 31 per cent, may be slightly above the national average of 29 per cent, as may be and the rate of compliance with the physical activity guideline (56 per cent compared with 54 per cent nationally).

Fruit consumption, at 55 per cent compliance with the recommended intake of two or more serves per day, may be below the national rate of 58 per cent.

But vegetable consumption, at 77 per cent, complying with the recommended intake of three or more serves a day, is significantly higher than national rate of 68 per cent.

The proportion who do the recommended amount of physical activity, 56 per cent, may be higher than the national average.

And daily smoking, at 20 per cent, may be four percentage points above the national prevalence.

MANAWATU/WHANGANUI

The people of this region, which includes Palmerston North and Levin, have a higher rate of obesity than the national average - 33 per cent compared with 29 per cent - and this may have crept up three percentage points since the earlier survey.

The diagnosed stroke rate, at 0.8 per cent, is less than half the national rate.

Those with chronic pain increased from 18 per cent of adults to 23 per cent between surveys, and this region is now well above the national rate of 16 per cent.

Fruit consumption declined from 59 per cent compliance with the guideline consumption to 53 per cent, markedly below the national rate of 58 per cent.

The daily smoking rate may have been slightly higher, 17 per cent compared with 16 per cent.

State of our health

- NZ Herald

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