Publication of the New Zealand Health Survey’s 2017/18 annual results

News article

05 April 2019

The Ministry of Health has today published the full set of more than 150 indicators from the 2017/18 New Zealand Health Survey on the New Zealand Health Survey Annual Data Explorer (Data Explorer).

The survey provides information about the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. The latest results are based on face-to-face interviews conducted between July 2017 and June 2018. More than 13,000 adults, and the parents or primary caregivers of more than 4,000 children took part in this year’s survey.

This release includes indicators published for the first time on the Data Explorer. Results from a selection of these new indicators are shown below:


Sexual orientation

  • 96.4% of adults identified as being heterosexual or straight
  • 1.8% of adults identified as being bisexual
  • 1.2% of adults identified as being gay or lesbian
  • 0.5% of adults identified as being an other sexual identity not otherwise stated.

E-cigarette use

  • About 723,000 adults aged 15 years and older (18%) had ever tried an electronic cigarette, even just a puff or ‘vape’, up from 16% in 2015/16.

Expert opinion is that vaping products are significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco but not completely harmless.

Oral health

  • 58% of children with natural teeth brushed their teeth at least twice a day with standard fluoride toothpaste, as recommended by the Ministry of Health.
  • Children and adolescents up to their 18th birthday have access to publicly funded basic oral health services. Most children aged 1-14 years (83%) visited a dental health care worker in the past year, up from 76% in 2006/07.
  • 2.7% of children (aged 1–14 years) avoided going to a dental care worker because of cost.
  • Nearly half of adults with natural teeth (47%) visited a dental health care worker in the past year, this has decreased from 52% in 2006/07.
  • About 1.6 million adults with natural teeth (44%) avoided going to a dental health care worker in the past 12 months because of cost. For Māori and Pacific adults with natural teeth, the rate of unmet need for dental care due to cost was higher at 55% and 54% respectively.
  • 80% of adults rated their oral health to be ‘good, very good or excellent’.

Recreational screen time

  • 89% of children aged 6 months to 14 years did not meet the Ministry of Health’s guidelines on recreational screen time duration per day.
  • Pacific children were 1.4 times as likely to meet the Ministry’s guidelines on recreational screen time as non-Pacific children.

Physical punishment

  • 41% of children’s parents or primary caregivers agreed that there are certain circumstances when it’s alright for parents to use physical punishment, such as smacking, with children.
  • 4.5% of children’s parents or primary caregivers reported using physical punishment on their child when they misbehaved in the 4 weeks prior to taking part in the survey. This has decreased from 10.4% in 2006/07.

The latest survey results with most dating back to 2006/07 are available on the Data Explorer on the Ministry's website, along with details on what is being done to improve the health of New Zealanders.

The Ministry wishes to thank the New Zealanders who gave their time to take part in the survey.

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