New Whyalla health survey highlights differences

Wednesday, 4 October 2000

A major new survey of Whyalla residents has found the much talked about - but little researched - differences in health between country and city people in South Australia do exist.

The survey, commissioned by the South Australian Centre for Rural and Remote Health (SACRRH) and conducted by the Department of Human Services, is believed to be the first of its type conducted in regional South Australia. It found that Whyalla residents had:

A very high rate of hearing loss, with 17% of respondents reporting a medical diagnosis of hearing loss . The figure was far worse for men, with a staggering 26% of men having hearing loss, while only 8% of women having hearing loss.

Higher-than-State average rates of obesity, asthma and diabetes;

A lower rate of arthritis compared to the rest of SA, and no difference in the rate of osteoporosis.

Some 1000 Whyalla residents were surveyed by telephone in April this year on various health issues affecting them, including physical and mental health, major illnesses, injuries, the use of medication, and health risk factors like weight, smoking, drinking, and illicit drug use.

While some of the survey results cast Whyalla in a less than positive light compared to the rest of the State, others were surprisingly good, according to SACRRH's Director of Public Health, Mr Jeff Fuller.

"A major reason for focussing this survey on Whyalla was the declining population and threatened economic base of the city," he said.

"It might be expected in such a city that mental and emotional health would be reduced compared with the rest of the state. Contrary to these expectations, there were no differences in levels of severe depression, social dysfunction, anxiety and insomnia, or overall prevalence of mental health conditions in Whyalla compared with the rest of the state."

The SACRRH is a partnership between Adelaide University, University of South Australia, and the Commonwealth Government.

WHAT: Ms Roxanne Ramsey, Executive Director of the Country and Disability Services Division of the South Australian Department of Human Services will launch the report arising from the SACRRH survey

WHERE: Room 35, Main Building, University of South Australia Whyalla Campus
WHEN: 3pm, Thursday 5 October


Contact Details

Mr Jeff Fuller
Business: +61 8 8647 6021
Mobile: 0419 821 830

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762