This report presents the levels of risk factors for coronary heart disease in the eight Australian capital cities based on data from the most recent Risk Factor Prevalence Survey. This survey was conducted between June and December 1989 and sampled adults aged 20 to 69 years. Over 9,000 people took part in the survey, a response rate of 75 per cent.

City estimates

In Chapter 5, risk factor levels are presented for each capital city in turn. Estimates are given for lO year age groups, separately for men and for women, and the overall estimate for each city is based upon the actual age distribution of that city. Although these overall levels are of interest in themselves their usefulness for comparing cities is limited because the cities have different age structures. Since risk factors are associated with age, overall city estimates will reflect the age structure of that city.

City comparisons

The estimates in Chapter 4 allow for the age effect mentioned above. In this chapter, overall risk factor levels have been calculated for each, city adjusted to a standard population; namely the World Standard Population. Each risk factor is considered independently and the age standardised estimates for each city are compared with each other.

Summary of results

The summary of results (pages 2-5) compares the overall risk factor profiles of each city. It pulls together the age standardised estimates of prevalence of hypertension, raised cholesterol, cigarette smoking, overweight and obesity, and no exercise, and ranks each city relative to the other cities for each of these risk factors.

Finally, the ranks for each city have been summed across the five risk factors to give a simple summary measure of the city's risk factor profile. This total rank is a relative measure and does not necessarily reflect the 'healthiness' of each city. It arbitrarily gives equal weight to each of the five risk factors and partially takes into account the size of the differences between cities. Several different methods of producing a summary risk factor measure were tested and the results for each were very similar.

Overall, the cities with the better risk factor profiles are Canberra, Sydney and Perth (women). The worse risk factor profiles are found in Adelaide and Hobart.