Self-reported health and use of health services: a comparison of diabetic and nondiabetic persons from a national sample

Matthew Knuiman, T.A. Welborn, Helen Bartholomew

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Population-based epidemiological and health service utilisation information on diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases is still scarce in Australia. Such information is needed by health economists, policy makers and service providers. Data from the 1989-90 National Health Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have been used to obtain estimates of the prevalence of cardiovascular morbidity, lifestyle factors, use of hospital and medical services, and self-assessed health and happiness for Australian persons with diabetes. Prevalences are compared with those for persons without diabetes. Those with diabetes had two to three times the prevalence of most cardiovascular conditions, similar levels of exercise (except for diabetic women over 40 years of age who exercised less than their nondiabetic counterparts), lower levels of alcohol consumption (except for younger men, who had a similar frequency of heavy drinking as their nondiabetic peers), similar levels of smoking, a higher prevalence of overweight, and significantly greater frequency of hospital admissions, use of outpatient services and general practitioner consultations. About half of the people with diabetes assessed their health as good or excellent but 90 per cent stated that they were happy or very happy. No differences between diabetic people living in capital cities and other areas were found. These results have implications for education and life-style behaviour modification programs for people with diabetes. Research into the prevention and more effective management of diabetes and its complications is required in order to contain the escalating health care burden associated with diabetes in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-247
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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