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Population Health Monitoring and Surveillance:
Question Development Background Paper

Demographic Characteristics

May 2003
CATI Technical Reference Group
National Public Health Partnership

Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) is a methodology widely used for surveillance of health behaviours and health outcomes in populations in Australia. The National CATI Health Survey Technical Reference Group (CATI TRG) is an advisory committee to the National Public Health Information Working Group under the National Public Health Partnership. Members of the CATI TRG include representatives from State/Territory Health Departments, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), the Australian Bureau of the Statistics, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Public Health Information Development Unit at the University of Adelaide. Since its inception in 1999, the CATI TRG has been a forum for the development and promotion of national standards, valid methods and capacity for CATI health surveys and health surveillance.

To embark in the efforts towards ‘harmonisation’ of CATI health surveys in Australia, the CATI TRG has identified the need to develop question modules for behavioural risk factor and chronic disease topics based on well-developed conceptual frameworks that underpin the data requirements for health surveillance. The proposed question modules are set to undergo a rigorous process of cognitive and field-testing under the guidance of the CATI TRG and the results will be published in a question module manual as a key reference to those interested in CATI health surveys in Australia.

This paper has been prepared by the CATI TRG as part of a series, with funding predominantly from the DoHA. Its preparation has involved input from all State and Territory jurisdictions, DoHA, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Public Health Information Development Unit at the University of Adelaide as well as recognised content experts.

Any comments or information relevant to the subject matter of this background paper would be welcome. Correspondence should be directed to: Chair
National CATI TRG
c/- Population Health Data & Information Services Unit
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare
GPO Box 9848 (MDP 16)
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Tel:
Fax:
Email:

02 6244 1000
02 6244 1299
info@aihw.gov.au

Population Health Monitoring and Surveillance:
Question Development Background Paper

Demographic Characteristics

May 2003
CATI Technical Reference Group
National Public Health Partnership

Demographic characteristics

Content
1 Introduction .................................................................................. 1 2 Effects of age and sex on health .................................................. 2 2.1 Age ........................................................................................... 2 2.2 Sex ........................................................................................... 2 3 Health differentials by selected demographic characteristics........ 4 3.1 Marital status ............................................................................ 4 3.2 Household size and structure.................................................... 4 3.3 Immigration and ethnicity .......................................................... 4 3.4 Indigenous Australians.............................................................. 5 3.5 Socio-economic status (SES) ................................................... 5 3.6 Rural-urban differences in health .............................................. 6 4 Data requirements and concepts to be measured ........................ 7 4.1 Personal characteristics of age, sex and marital status and household size and structure .................................................... 7 4.2 Ethnicity...
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