Notes on the data: Chronic diseases and conditions

Estimated population, aged 18 years and over, with high blood cholesterol, 2011-12


Policy context:  Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in the blood. It is essential for many metabolic processes, including the production of hormones and building cells [1]. Total cholesterol includes 'good' cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)), which prevent blockages in the circulatory system; 'bad' cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)), which can leave fatty deposits in the arteries; and other lipid components [2]. High levels of total cholesterol may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.


  1. National Heart Foundation of Australia. Cholesterol [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2013 July 8]. Available from:
  2. National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. Lipid Management Guidelines - 2001. MJA 2001; 175:Supplement.

Notes:  In the absence of data from administrative data sets, estimates are provided for certain chronic diseases and conditions from the 2011–12 Australian Health Survey, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Estimates for quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage and Remoteness Areas are direct estimates, extracted using the ABS Survey TableBuilder.

Small area estimates:

Data by Population Health Area, Local Government Area and Primary Health Network are available for the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey in the data archive.

Indicator detail

Total cholesterol results were obtained for selected persons aged 12 years and over, who agreed to participate in the National Health Measures Survey (NHMS) component of the AHS and provided a blood sample. The total cholesterol test measures the combined amount of lipid (fat) components circulating in the blood at the time of the test. Fasting was not required. In the NHMS, the following definition for high serum total cholesterol was used: abnormal total cholesterol indicated by levels ≥ 5.5 mmol/L. This was based on epidemiological data and publications of major clinical trials, and advice from the National Heart Foundation Australia and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. The data therefore refer to persons with a total blood cholesterol level ≥ 5.5 mmol/L.


Geography: Data available by QQuintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Area


Numerator:  Estimated number of people aged 18 years and over with high blood cholesterol


Denominator:  Population aged 18 years and over


Detail of analysis:  Indirectly age-standardised rate per 100 population (aged 18 years and over); and/or indirectly age-standardised ratio, based on the Australian standard


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on direct estimates from the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey, ABS Survey TableBuilder.


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