The New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS) conducts face-to-face interviews with over 13,000 adults and the parents/ caregivers of over 4000 children annually. The survey collects a wealth of information on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Every year it includes a core set of questions, which help the Ministry of Health identify key issues and monitor trends.

This report presents the annual update of key results from the 2017/18 NZHS, which collected data from July 2017 to June 2018. It includes data for key survey indicators, providing a snapshot of health behaviours, health status and access to health care for both adults and children. These key indicators help highlight at-risk groups and focus attention on important issues, as well as identifying areas for further research.

An overview of the key findings, some of which are excerpts from the report, feature below.

Overview of key findings

Health status, health behaviours and risk factors

  • The majority of New Zealanders report being in good health.
  • The smoking rate is decreasing slowly. A higher smoking rate persists in adults living in socio-economically deprived areas.
  • The adult obesity rate has increased since 2011/12. Furthermore the percentage of adults who are morbidly obese has been steadily increasing.
  • The child obesity rate has not changed significantly since 2011/12.
  • Hazardous drinking rates were higher in men than women. 

Go to Improving the health of New Zealanders find out what’s being done to reduce smoking, hazardous drinking and obesity rates.

Health conditions

  • 8.6 percent of adults reported experiencing psychological distress in the past four weeks, up from 7.6 percent in 2016/17.
  • Psychological distress rates were highest among young adults.
  • Rates of psychological distress (indicative of anxiety or depressive disorders) are high among Māori and Pacific adults, and in adults living in the most deprived areas.

Go to Improving the health of New Zealanders to find out what’s being done to improve mental health.

Access to health care

  • Rates of unmet need for primary health care are similar to 2011/12.
  • Around one in seven adults reported not visiting a Genera Practice due to cost in the past year, which is not significantly different from 2011/12.
  • Only 2.0 percent of children did not visit a General Practice due to cost in the past year, down from 4.7 percent in 2011/12.
  • Cost is more likely to be a barrier to accessing after-hours medical centres and filling prescriptions, for adults and children living in the most deprived areas, than for those living in the least deprived areas.

Go to Improving the health of New Zealanders to find out what’s being done to improve access to primary health care.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:15 November 2018
  • ISBN:978-1-98-856814-0
  • HP number:6964
  • Citation: Ministry of Health (2018). Tier 1 statistics 2017/18: New Zealand Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health..
  • Ordering information:Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.