5 September 2016

An interactive data web app exploring the way mental distress can affect physical health outcomes has been added to the Commission website.

The app includes data collected in the NSW Population Health Survey between 2008 and 2013 and looks at the relationship between psychological distress and health in the NSW population. This is a new way of looking at data that takes into account the whole person and how physical and mental health are inter-related. This relationship is often reciprocal: mental health issues can lead to poor physical health and poor physical health can often increase mental distress and reduce ability to cope. 

In the app you can select the health behaviours and outcomes that you are interested in to see the relationship between distress and those behaviours and outcomes. You can also select which population groups to compare by.

As a summary, the app shows:

While 84% of people reporting low distress also report good physical health, only 54% of people reporting high distress rate their physical health as good.

Compared to people reporting low distress, people reporting high distress are:

  • More than twice as likely to smoke
  • One and a half times as likely to have high blood glucose or diabetes
  • One and a third times as likely to have high cholesterol
  • 16% more likely to have high blood pressure
  • 7% more likely to drink at harmful levels
  • 4% more likely to be overweight
  • 17% less likely to eat the recommended amount of fruit
  • 18% less likely to get adequate exercise
  • 25% less likely to eat the recommended amount of vegetables

All of the above factors have been listed as key contributors to the burden of disease in Australia by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Access the interactive data web app.


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Last updated: 21 June 2017