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Posted on 02 Jun 2021

Last month we released our most recent report of the Victorian Population Health Survey (VPHS), conducted in 2019.

7,200 adult Victorians were surveyed across the following domains: obesity, physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, smoking status, alcohol consumption, mental health and wellbeing, chronic diseases, preventative health checks, social capital and palliative care.

Telephone interviews (both landline and mobile) were carried out in English and nine languages other than English. The questionnaire was translated into Italian, Greek, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Turkish, Serbian and Croatian, ensuring the non-English-speaking community were able to participate.

Summary of key findings

· More than 1 in 5 Victorian adults (20.3%) were categorised as obese according to their body mass index – a significantly higher proportion of men (20.7%) were obese compared with women (19.8%)

· More than half of Victorian adults (51.1%) undertook adequate physical activity to meet the national guidelines

· Just 5.7% of Victorian adults met the recommended minimum daily intake for vegetables, while 40.6% met the recommended minimum daily intake for fruit

· Close to 1 in 8 Victorian adults (12.4%) were daily smokers – a significantly higher proportion of men (14.5%) were daily smokers compared with women (10.3%)

· A higher proportion of Victorian men (68.9%) were at increased lifetime of risk of alcohol-related harm compared with women (51.4%)

· Close to 1 in 5 Victorian adults (18.1%) reported high or very high levels of psychological distress

· Nearly 1 in 5 Victorian adults (19.6%) reported being diagnosed with two or more of seven common chronic diseases (excluding asthma)

· Close to 2 in 5 Victorian adults (40.4%) reported being in excellent or very good health.

· Close to three quarters of Victorian adults (73.5%) had not discussed, or did not have, an end of life care plan.

To access the report, visit the BetterSaferCare website.

Analysis underway on the 2020 Victorian Population Health Survey – with COVID-19 the focus

Work is underway to analyse the data and report on the finding from the 2020 survey. The 2020 survey was the fifth time the survey has been conducted across all 79 local government areas (LGAs) in Victoria.

Unlike the previous four LGA surveys, the 2020 VPHS fieldwork was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey focused on the physical, mental, emotional and social impacts of COVID-19 on Victorians, as well as questions around compliance with preventive health measures and attitudes and beliefs about COVID-19.

The Population Health Insight Unit within VAHI is currently analysing the data to determine what reports and information will be developed for broader distribution in 2021. The outputs of the survey will contribute to the limited adult population-level data that are available about the impact of the pandemic on Victorian’s experiences, attitudes and health-related behaviours in 2020. Keep an eye out in VAHI news for updates in the coming months.

Evaluation of the Victorian Population Health Survey

VAHI is conducting important consultations as part of the evaluation of the Victorian population health survey. Stakeholders from across government, research and preventative health organisations are advising on the strengths and weaknesses of the survey in informing their work to improve the health and wellbeing of Victorians across the state. The evaluation is expected to be completed in the next couple of months, with the findings to contribute to enhancements to the program. We will update readers of VAHI news in as the evaluation is finalised.

If you have any questions about the VPHS, contact Loretta Vaughan, Manager of the Victorian Population Health Survey via loretta.vaughan@vahi.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 02 Jun 2021