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Health risk factors are attributes, characteristics or exposures that increase the likelihood of a person developing a disease or health disorder. Behavioural risk factors are those that individuals have the most ability to modify. Biomedical risk factors are bodily states that are often influenced by behavioural risk factors.

Information is presented below on the prevalence of selected behavioural and biomedical risk factors for Australians aged 18 and over. This is based on self-reported or measured data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011-12 Australian Health Survey.

Behavioural risk factors


Tobacco smoking(1)

Almost 1 in 6 Australian adults (16%) smoke daily.


Excessive alcohol consumption(1)

1 in 5 Australian adults (20%) consume more than 2 standard drinks per day.


Inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption(1)

Over 1 in 2 Australian adults (52%) do not eat enough fruit.

Over 9 in 10 Australian adults (92%) do not eat enough vegetables.


Insufficient physical activity(1)

Over 1 in 2 Australian adults (56%) are not sufficiently active.

  1. Based on self-reported data.

Biomedical risk factors


Overweight and obesity(2)

Almost 2 in 3 Australian adults (63%) are overweight or obese.


High blood pressure(2)

Almost 1 in 3 Australian adults (32%) have high blood pressure.


Abnormal blood lipids (dyslipidaemia)(2)

Almost 2 in 3 Australian adults (63%) have dyslipidaemia.


Impaired fasting glucose(2)

3.1% of Australian adults have impaired fasting glucose.

  1. Based on measured data.

This information was last updated in January 2016.