Health Snapshots

Young people smoking

In 2017, 10% of secondary school students 12-17 years in South Australia reported having ‘ever smoked tobacco’, lower than the national average of 18%, and a significant decrease from 1996 and 2011 when the proportions were 56% and 20% respectively.

Young men are slightly more likely to have smoked tobacco in the previous week than young females (3% as opposed to 2%) and young people 15-17 years were more likely to have smoked in the previous week than 12-15 year olds (5% as opposed 1%).

In South Australia, the proportion of young people 14-19 years that reported being daily smokers in 2016 was 5%, a slight decrease from 2010 (6%).

Overall health

The wellbeing and engagement collection (WEC) is an annual survey conducted by the Department for Education that asks students about their overall general health. In 2018 the WEC was completed by 65,000 year 4 to year 10 students from 524 schools.

In 2018, 81% of all year 4 to year 10 students were satisfied with their overall health (up slightly from 80% in 2016). The proportions of Aboriginal students and students with disability who reported being satisfied with their overall health was 79% and 75% respectively. Year 4 students were more likely to be satisfied with their overall health (88%) compared to year 10 students (69%).

In metropolitan Adelaide, the region with the highest proportion of year 4 to year 10 students satisfied with their overall health was Unley (89%). In regional/remote South Australia the region with the highest proportion was Yorke Peninsula (83%).

Daily fruit consumption

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guideline for daily fruit consumption by children and young people is:

  • 2-3 years – 1 serve
  • 4-8 years – 1.5 serves
  • 9-17 years – 2 serves.

Using ABS data, 70% of 2-17 year olds in South Australia met the NHMRC guideline in 2017-18. More children and young people in metropolitan Adelaide met the guideline (71%) than in outer regional/remote South Australia (66%). Almost 8 in 10 children (2-9 years) and almost 6 in 10 children and young people (10-17 years) had consumed 2 or more serves a fruit a day.

In 2017-18, 9% of children and young people (2-17 years) in South Australia had consumed less than 1 serve of fruit per day, higher than the national average (7%).

Young people immunised against HPV

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can prevent cervical cancer as well as other cancers and HPV-related diseases.

The National Immunisation Program provides an HPV vaccination program for young people aged 12-13 years, with the aim of them being fully immunised by 15 years.

The rate of HPV vaccination is increasing in South Australia. In 2015-16, 76% of young women and 72% of young men aged 15 years were fully immunised (up from 74% of young women and 67% of young men in 2014-15).

The Adelaide – Central and Hills regions have the highest HPV fully-immunised rates for both young women (80%) and young men (76%).

Children and young people who are overweight or obese

In 2017-18, 26% of all children and young people aged 2-17 years were overweight or obese, an increase since 2014-15 when the proportion was 23%. Fewer children and young people are obese (7%) than overweight (19%) in South Australia.

The proportion of 2-17 year olds that are overweight or obese is lowest in inner regional areas (17%) and highest in remote and very remote areas (35%). In metropolitan Adelaide the proportion is 26%.

In 2017-18, the likelihood of a child or young person being overweight or obese, increases with age. The proportion for 2-4 year olds was 20% and for 16-17 year olds it was 32%.

Young mothers

The proportion of mothers who were aged 15-19 years at the time of birth was 2.4% of all live births in South Australia in 2016. The proportion has decreased steadily over the last 10 years and has halved since 2006 when the proportion was 4.8%.

The proportions vary across the 4 South Australian local health networks (LHN) from 1.3% in the Central Adelaide LHN to 4.0% in the Country Health SA LHN.

The birth rate for teenage mothers in South Australia, which is the number of mothers per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years, in 2016 was 9 per 1,000 women. This rate has also decreased in the previous 10 years down from 17 per 1,000 women in 2006.

For Aboriginal mothers aged 15-19 years the birth rate in South Australia in 2015 was 53 per 1,000 women, which is down from 77 in 2006 but up from 48 in 2013 (which was the lowest rate in the last 10 years).


Almost 92% of all 2 year olds in South Australia were fully immunised in 2018, a slight decrease from 93% in 2011.

In 2018, the Barossa region in country South Australia had the highest proportion of fully-immunised 2 year olds (95%) and Salisbury had the highest proportion in metropolitan Adelaide (93%).

Approximately 87% of all Aboriginal 2 year olds in South Australia were fully immunised in 2018, a slight decrease from 88% in 2011.

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