Survey gives snapshot of city’s health

December 1, 2021 BY

According to the survey, 15 per cent of Greater Geelong residents meet the recommended minimum daily vegetable intake. Photo: UNSPLASH

A recent survey of 1,500 City of Greater Geelong residents has provided new data on the community’s health and wellbeing, including the impacts of COVID-19.

Run every four years, the Geelong Preventative Health Survey helps the city better understand the health status of the community, and to inform evidence-based planning and decision-making across the region.

Phone surveys of Greater Geelong residents, aged 15 years and over, were conducted between January and February this year by independent research agency Local Government Research Group.

Survey participants, who remained anonymous, were asked questions designed to collect information about their health, lifestyle and wellbeing, such as fruit and vegetable intake and levels of physical activity.

Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said this information would be vital to the planning of the city’s services and facilities, and promotion of healthy behaviours and environments.

“This is the second time we’ve undertaken this extensive survey of our community, and with these results we’re able to see how residents’ health and wellbeing has changed since 2017.”

“The timing of this survey gives us a greater understanding of how the pandemic has impacted the health and wellbeing of our community.”

This year’s survey also included new questions around involvement in community groups, family violence, multiculturalism and climate change.

Significant changes from the survey’s 2017 results included:

  • 67 per cent meet national physical activity guidelines (an increase from 41 per cent)
  • 37 per cent were at an increased lifetime risk of alcohol related harm (a decrease from 57 per cent)
  • 15 per cent meet the recommended minimum daily vegetable intake (an increase from 10 per cent)
  • 42 per cent consume take away meals 1 to 2 times per week (an increase from 11 per cent)
  • 22 per cent consume sugary drinks every day (an increase from 16 per cent) and
  • 20 per cent are under high/very high psychological distress (an increase from 10 per cent).

Data collected has been released publicly via the city’s Geelong Data Exchange, an online platform designed to ensure everyone can access, use and share data the city collects.

Making data more user-friendly to further support evidence-based decision-making is a key focus of the city’s Smart City Strategic Framework.

Cr Sarah Mansfield, chair of the Community Health and Aged Care portfolio, said it was important to make the health data available to the community.

“By making this data available publicly on the Geelong Data Exchange, it can hopefully provide valuable insights for other local organisations, citizens and innovators in order to determine new ideas and solutions in response.

“Addressing these challenges will require a whole-of-community approach, but the data certainly points us in the right direction to be able to tailor our services and preventative health strategies to better meet community needs.”

The Geelong Preventative Health Survey data can be viewed via the online Data Exchange Dashboard.