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What things affect our health?

Factors which impact on our health

Some of the factors that impact the health of people in our region are shown below

We frequently use a standardised method of summarising a number of social and economic factors, called Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) scores. SEIFA scores are a measure of advantage and disadvantage compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The Census variables used to calculate the SEIFA indexes cover a number of domains and include household income, education, employment, occupation, housing and other indicators of advantage and disadvantage.

The SEIFA Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage by LGA in the HNECC region ranges from the most disadvantaged at 910 (Tenterfield LGA) to the least disadvantaged at 997 (Newcastle LGA) (Australia 1,000).

Health and lifestyle risk factors

The lifestyle we choose may place us at risk of poor health outcomes and the development of diseases. Smoking, high risk alcohol consumption and excess weight are major risk factors for death and disease in Australia. Some of the risk factors for people in the HNECC region are shown in the infographic below.

Access to services

Accessible health services are those that are conveniently located, affordable, appropriate and acceptable. Health services can be inaccessible if providers do not acknowledge and respect cultural factors, physical barriers and economic barriers, or if the community is not aware of available services.

In our region, we found:

  • 4.1 in every 100 adults often have difficulty or cannot get to places needed due to transport (NSW 4.3)
  • 2.5 in every 100 adults experienced a barrier to accessing healthcare when needed in the last 12 months, with cost of service being the main reason (NSW 2.5)
  • Limited transport is a significant barrier to accessing health services, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for older people and for those living in rural areas
  • General Practitioners, dentists and allied health providers are not spread evenly across the region, with fewer health professionals per person in some of our rural areas

More information

More information about this and other population health topics is available on our Resources page.

Links to other information from some of our key data sources can be found on the Other information about health in our region page.

For any other information or enquiries please contact the Health Planning and Performance Team by email:

Health Planning Compass

For more information about the people in our region and their health, see the Primary Health Network's Health Planning Compass

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