Tier 1 statistics 2015/16: New Zealand Health Survey

Published online: 
17 November 2016

These tables cover the most important statistics (Tier 1) from the 2015/16 New Zealand Health Survey. The statistics included are:

  • self-rated health
  • smoking (current)
  • past-year drinking
  • hazardous drinking
  • obesity
  • mental health status (psychological distress)
  • unmet need for GP due to cost
  • unfilled prescription due to cost

These statistics are covered in detail by the report Annual Update of Key Results 2015/16: New Zealand Health Survey. This report provides a snapshot of the health of New Zealanders through the publication of key indicators on health behaviours, health status and access to health care for both adults and children.

These statistics have been incorporated in the most recent version of the Data Explorer (updated in November 2019):

Results are available by sex, age group, ethnic group and neighbourhood deprivation.

If you have any queries please email [email protected]

Further information

Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)

In 2015/16, two of the alcohol questions were changed in the AUDIT section of the Survey.

The AUDIT is a 10-item questionnaire that covers three aspects of alcohol use: alcohol consumption, dependence and adverse consequences.

A score of 8 or more is indicative of hazardous drinking patterns. Someone can reach a score of 8 from the alcohol consumption items alone. For example, someone who drank six or more drinks on one occasion, twice a week.

Prior to 2015/16, the Survey did not give a definition for ‘drinks’ in the two AUDIT questions covering typical quantity and frequency of heavy drinking. 

To ensure consistency of interpretation of ‘drinks’ the authors of the AUDIT recommend that each country apply their own definition of a standard drink (10g pure alcohol in New Zealand), with illustrations of standard drinks in local beverages (Babor et al, 2001). 

Therefore for the 2015/16 Survey, the two AUDIT alcohol consumption questions were modified by prefixing the word ‘drinks’ with ‘standard’ and using a show-card illustrating the number of standard drinks in various common beverages. 

The changes were only made for half the Survey sample (selected randomly), so that the impact could be assessed. Only the standard drinks show-card version of AUDIT will be used in the Survey from 2016/17 onwards, creating a break in the time series. 

The percentage of the adults who had a hazardous drinking pattern in 2015/16 was 19.3% without the standard drinks picture show-card and was 20.8% with the show-card, a difference of 1.5 percentage points. Similarly, the percentage of adults who drank six or more drinks on one occasion at least weekly (binge drinkers) was 9.5% without the show-card and was 12.0% with the show-card.

The impact of the standard drinks show-card is most evident when looking at the statistics for past-year drinkers. For example, without the show-card, 11.9% of past-year drinkers binged weekly (at least six drinks on one occasion), but with the show-card, 15.0% binged weekly.

Publishing information

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