Health risk factors and behaviours

Health risk factors and behaviours—such as poor diet, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol consumption—can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health (see Health status for information on the general health of Australians with disability).

Many health problems experienced by the Australian population, including by people with disability, can be prevented or reduced by decreasing exposure to modifiable risk factors where possible.

People with disability generally have higher rates of some modifiable health risk factors and behaviours than people without disability. But there can be particular challenges for people with disability in modifying some risk factors, for example, where extra assistance is needed to achieve a physically active lifestyle, or where medication increases appetite or impacts drinking behaviours.

Where can I find out more?

Detailed data tables are available at Data. These include data on risk factors broken down by sex, broad age group and disability group.

Information on:


ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2018a. National Health Survey: first results, 2017– 18. ABS cat. no. 4324.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS.[email protected]/mf/4364.0.55.001.

ABS 2018b. ABS Sources of Disability Information, 2012–2016. ABS cat. no. 4431.0.55.002. Canberra: ABS.[email protected]/mf/4431.0.55.002.