A Portrait of Health: Key results of the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey

Portrait of Health is the first release of key descriptive findings from the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey. Analyses have been presented by gender, age group, ethnic group, neighbourhood deprivation and regional area where possible. Results are compared with earlier surveys where possible for the total population and for Māori by gender.

The 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey was carried out from October 2006 to November 2007, collecting information on 4921 children aged from birth to 14 years and 12,488 adults aged 15 years and over. The 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey measured self-reported physical and mental health states (including diagnosed health conditions), modifiable risk and protective factors for health outcomes, and the use of health care services.

Data have been weighted in order to be representative of New Zealand’s resident population living in permanent private dwellings. A final response rate of 68% was achieved for the adult questionnaire and 71% for the child questionnaire.

This survey found the majority of New Zealand children and adults are in good health and have excellent access to health care services.

Most notably, the proportion of adults who were unable to see a GP when they needed to in the previous 12 months has halved since 2002/03. Other positive trends were a decrease in the daily smoking rate, a slowing in the rate of increase of obesity in adults and no change in the rate of obesity for Māori adults since 1997.

However, there were still a considerable number of children and adults who did not meet healthy behaviour recommendations (such as doing regular physical activity, eating well and being smokefree). There were also increased prevalences of some common health conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol for men since 2002/03, although this may be due to better detection and treatment in primary health care services.

Most concerning is the persistence of large disparities across a range of risk factors and health outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples compared to the total population, and also for children and adults living in neighbourhoods of high socioeconomic deprivation compared to those living in neighbourhoods of low deprivation. Even though this survey showed significant improvements in access to health care services, many disparities still remain for some population groups in New Zealand.

A Portrait of Health is the first of many publications that utilises 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey data. Policy analysts, planners, non-governmental organisations and academic researchers are encouraged to undertake or commission their own analyses of the Health Survey data.

Full report can be downloaded here, or individual chapters can be downloaded from the Ministry of Health website

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