This glossary defines terms commonly used in the The health of Queenslanders. Report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland. If a term is not provided, it may be available in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Glossary.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Queensland Health’s preference is to use ‘First Nations’ peoples and, in respect of both cultural groups, recognises ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘Torres Strait Islander’ peoples as acceptable terms. See First Nations peoples.
A person who has not consumed alcohol in the previous 12 months.
Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA)
Remoteness was determined using the six categories of Remoteness areas classification: major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote, very remote, and migratory. ARIA scores are based on how far the population must travel to access services.
Usually defined as those aged 18 years and older.
Affective disorder
A set of psychiatric disorders, also called mood disorders. The main types of affective disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder. Symptoms vary by individual and can range from mild to severe.
Age-specific rate
Rate for a specific age group. The numerator and denominator relate to the same age group.
Age-standardised rates
To compare different populations, rates may be adjusted for the age structure using a reference population. In this report the 2001 Australian population unless otherwise stated. Age-standardised prevalence rates are used to compare Queensland with other jurisdictions and nationally, where they are available. In text, these are referred to as ‘standardised rates’.
Refers to both amphetamine and the sub-category methamphetamine (most commonly known as ‘ice’ or ‘crystal’). Illicit drug use includes the pharmaceutical misuse of amphetamine for non-medical purposes. Most of the amphetamine used in Australia is methamphetamine.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Australia’s official statistical organisation and a statutory authority.
Australian Dietary Guidelines
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend the consumption of five food groups: 1) fruit 2) vegetables and legumes/beans 3) milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives 4) lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes and beans and 5) grains (includes cereal foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties). Consumption is recommended in quantities that are appropriate to life stage, sex, and energy needs.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
Major agency for health and welfare statistics and information.


Body mass index (BMI)
Refers to a simple index of weight-for-height, calculated as BMI = [weight (kg)/height (m) squared], that is commonly used to classify underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obese (refer to separate entries for each BMI category). BMI for children takes into account the age and sex of the child and has different cut-offs for BMI categories than those used for adults. Different data sets collect BMI in different ways—typically self-reported or measured. Measured BMI is more accurate than self-reported BMI, especially for adults.


Cardiovascular disease
Any disease of the cardiovascular system, namely the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). Includes angina, heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Also known as circulatory disease. Although stroke is a condition that affects the brain, it is included in cardiovascular conditions as stroke is caused by problems with the vessels that supply blood to the brain.
Bacterial disease that causes the demineralisation and decay of teeth and can involve inflammation of the central dental pulp.
Usually defined as those aged 1–17 years. Those aged less than 1 year are referred to as infants.
Chronic diseases/conditions
A diverse group of diseases/conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, which tend to be long lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases, the term is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Term to describe chronic lung diseases that limit lung airflow, includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Condition (health condition)
A broad term that can be applied to any health problem, including symptoms, diseases and certain risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol and obesity. Often used synonymously with disorder or problem.
Confidence interval (CI)
In general, a range of values expected to contain the true value 95% of the time (95% CI).
Coronary heart disease
includes conditions such as heart attack and angina. Coronary heart disease (also known as ischaemic heart disease) is the most common disease in the cardiovascular group.
Crude rates
The number of cases in a given time period in a geographic area divided by the total number of persons in the population. Crude rates more accurately reflect the health burden in the community.


Dietary factors combined
Estimated burden of disease due to joint effects of all diet-related risk factors included in the analysis.
Temporary or long-term reduction of a person’s capacity or function, including illness.
Disability adjusted life year (DALY)
Measure of overall burden of disease and injury, where the DALY for a disease or condition is the sum of the YLL and YLD.
Discretionary or unhealthy foods
The Australian Dietary Guidelines describe discretionary foods as those that are not essential or a necessary part of a healthy dietary pattern. These foods are high in kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugars and/or salt or alcohol. The ABS has identified a group of foods consistent with the guidelines based on the national food recall survey in 2011–12.


Refers to electronic cigarettes, otherwise known as electronic nicotine delivery systems or personal vaporisers containing nicotine, and are used in a manner that simulates smoking.
Regularly found among particular people or in a certain area, with infections occurring at a steady rate without external inputs.


Financial years
Reported using the convention, 2019–20. Periods covering two full years are reported using the convention, 2019–2020.
First Nations peoples
Queensland Health recognises and respects both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as the First Nations people in Queensland. Queensland Health’s preference is to use ‘First Nations’ peoples and, in respect of both cultural groups, recognises ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘Torres Strait Islander’ peoples as acceptable terms. Queensland Health acknowledges that local environment and operating context will determine preferred choice. More information about Queensland Health’s preferred terminology is available from the Terminology guide for the use of ‘First Nations’ and ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘Torres Strait Islander’.


Gross domestic product (GDP)
Equivalent to total national expenditure plus exports of goods and services minus imports of goods and services.


Health adjusted life year (HALE)
Refers to the average number of years at birth that a person can expect to live in full health if the current patterns of mortality and disability continue throughout their life.
Healthy days
Refers to the Health-Related Quality of Life measures developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information see the CDC health-related quality of life webpage.
Healthy weight
Refers to the category classified as a body mass index in the range of 18.50–24.0
A person is considered to be homeless if they do not have suitable accommodation and their current living arrangement is in a dwelling that is inadequate or has no tenure (or initial tenure is short and not extendable) or does not allow them to have control of, and access to, space for social relations.
Hospital admission
Admission is the process whereby the hospital accepts responsibility for the patient’s care and/or treatment. Admission follows a clinical decision that a patient requires same-day or overnight care or treatment. This care and/or treatment can occur in hospital and/or in the patient’s home (for hospital-in-the-home patients). See the Queensland Health Admitted Patient Data Collection manual for additional information.
Hospital and Health Services (HHSs)
Queensland has 16 HHSs, of these 15 HHSs are geographically based. Children’s Health Queensland HHS is related to services provided to children and is not geographically based.
Hospital separation
A separation is an admitted episode of care which can be a total hospital stay or a portion of a hospital stay ending in a change of status. This may be referred to as admitted patient episode of care, or episode of care.
The term used for the total number of separations in all hospitals (public and private) that provide acute care services.
The susceptible organism that an infectious agent is transmitted to from its natural reservoir.
Prolonged elevation of the blood pressure also referred to as high blood pressure.


Illicit drug use
Includes the use of illegal drugs, non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs and misuse of substances.
Number of new health-related events (for example, illness or disease) in a defined population in a defined period of time.
Infant mortality
Deaths of children under one year of age. Commonly expressed as a crude rate in one calendar year per 1000 live births in the same calendar year.
International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
The World Health Organization’s internationally accepted classification of death and disease. The 10th Revision (ICD-10) is currently in use in Australia. The ICD-10-AM is the Australian Modification of the ICD-10; it is used for diagnoses and procedures recorded for patients admitted to hospitals.


Joint effects (burden of disease)
The impact of multiple risk factors on disease burden that takes into account the complex interaction and overlap of risk factors on disease outcome.


Leading cause
The Australian Bureau of Statistics classifies causes of death into a broad category, using the research presented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Volume 84, Number 4, April 2006, 297-304. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare also uses such category, which is a modified version of the article above.
Refers to people and families who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer. The + reflects that the letters of the acronym do not capture the entire spectrum of sexual orientations, gender identities and intersex variations, and is not intended to be limiting or exclusive of certain groups.
Life expectancy
Average number of additional years a person of a given age and sex might expect to live if the age-specific death rates of the given period continued throughout their lifetime.
Lifestyle-related chronic conditions
Defined in this report as a group of seven chronic conditions that are major causes of disease burden and have the highest attributable risk factor burden (excluding alcohol related effects). They include coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, COPD and diabetes.
Linked disease
A disease or injury for which there is evidence that its likelihood is increased by the risk factor in question. Term commonly used in burden of disease analysis.
Long-term conditions
A medical condition (illness, injury or disability) which was current at the time of interview and had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.
Low birth weight
In this report low birth weight includes all births (still born and live births of at least 20 weeks gestation or greater than 400g) with a birthweight less than 2500g, excluding only those for whom no weight was recorded.


Margin of error
The margin of error is a statistic expressing the amount of random sampling error in the results of a survey. The larger the margin of error, the less likely the estimate reflects the “true” value in the whole population.
Maternal smoking
Refers to women who smoke tobacco during pregnancy.
Midpoint of a frequency distribution of observed values or quantities.
Modifiable risk factor
See risk factor.
Modified Monash Model
Refers to a classification system of remoteness within Australia. It is based on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard – Remoteness Area (ASGS-RA) framework and categorises area from MM 1 (Metropolitan) to MM 7 (Very remote communities). See Modified Monash Model | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care for more information.


National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Australia’s leading body promoting development and maintenance of public and individual health standards.
Neonatal death
Refers to the death of a live-born baby up to 28 days of age. Perinatal deaths include neonatal deaths and stillbirths (that is, foetal deaths).
Non-discretionary or healthy foods
The Dietary Guidelines describe non-discretionary foods as those that are an essential part of a healthy dietary pattern.
Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC)
Includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Reports of specified health conditions to government by medical practitioners, pathology laboratories and hospitals. In Queensland, this is legislated by the Public Health Act 2005.


Refers to the weight category classified as a body mass index (BMI) in the range of 30.00 or more. The obese category is classified as: class I where BMI is 30.00–34.99, class II where BMI is 35.00–39.99, and class III where BMI is 40.00 or more. Severely obese is the combined prevalence of class II and class III obesity.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Group of 34 member countries using information to help governments foster prosperity and fight poverty through economic growth and stability. Australia became a member in 1971.
Refers to the category classified as a body mass index in the range of 25.00–29.99.


A new infectious disease that is rapidly spreading across a large region, or worldwide, and affecting large numbers of people, such as a new influenza virus or COVID-19.
Patient days
Refers to occupied bed days for patients in hospitals and day surgery units.
Percentage change
Measures relative difference. Percent change refers to a change proportional to the original quantity, for example the change from 60% to 69% is a 15% increase.
Percentage point change
Measures absolute difference. A percentage point change refers to the arithmetical difference between two percentages. Ten per cent is two percentage point more than 8%.
Perinatal deaths
Includes all stillbirths (foetal deaths) of at least 400g birth weight or at least 20 weeks gestation, and neonatal deaths of live-born babies up to 28 days of age according to AIHW definition. The recording of stillbirths varies by jurisdiction. In Queensland, stillbirths are registered as a birth and a death, whereas in most other jurisdictions they are only entered as a stillbirth as part of the birth registration process. The reported rate is based on the Queensland definition unless otherwise stated (for example, the national definition is used for jurisdictional and national comparisons. Also, the sources of perinatal deaths in Australia could be reported using the national and the jurisdictional perinatal data collection, or the death registry. See the Queensland perinatal and infant mortality taskforce report for further details on the differences between the two reporting methods.
Potentially avoidable deaths
A death that, theoretically, could have been avoided given an understanding of causation, the adoption of available disease prevention initiatives and the use of available health care.
Potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs)
Admissions to hospital that potentially could have been prevented through the provision of appropriate non-hospital health services as defined nationally under the National Healthcare Agreement.
Population attributable fraction
The proportion (fraction) of a disease, illness, disability or death in a population that can be attributed to a particular risk factor or combination of risk factors.
Premature death
Generally refers to a death that occurs before the age of 75 years.
Measure of disease occurrence or frequency, often used to refer to the proportion of individuals in a population who have a disease or condition at a particular point of time.
Primary Health Networks (PHNs)
Queensland has seven PHNs that work directly with all levels of the health care system to facilitate efficient and effective outcomes for patients.
Principal diagnosis
The diagnosis established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning an episode of patient care (hospitalisation), an episode of residential care or an attendance at the health care establishment. Diagnoses are recorded using the relevant edition of the International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM).
Method of collecting information about health status, usually during a survey where a parent or guardian reports a status measure on behalf of a child or dependent, such as their height, weight or physical activity.
Psychological distress
Assessed using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) which is a scale of non-specific psychological distress based on 10 questions about the frequency of negative emotional states in the four weeks prior to interview.
Public Health Unit
Within Hospital and health Services across the state with a focus on protecting health, preventing disease, illness and injury, and promoting health and wellbeing at a population or whole of community level.


A measure of the frequency of the occurrence of an event or phenomenon in a defined population in a specified period of time. Typically expressed as the number per 1,000 or 100,000 for a 12 month period. Rates may be crude , age-standardised or age-specific.
Recurrent spending
Expenditure on goods and services that do not result in creation or acquisition of fixed assets, such as wages and salaries.
Relative standard error (RSE)
Standard error measures how much a survey estimate is likely to deviate from the actual population. It is expressed as a number. By contrast, relative standard error (RSE) is the standard error expressed as a fraction of the estimate and is usually displayed as a percentage. Estimates with a RSE of 25% or greater are subject to high sampling error and should be used with caution.
The reservoir of an infectious agent is the habitat in which the agent normally lives, grows, and multiplies. Reservoirs include humans, animals, and the environment. The reservoir may or may not be the source from which an agent is transferred to a host.
Risk factor
Any factor that represents a greater risk of a health disorder or other unwanted condition or event. Some risk factors are regarded as causes of disease; others are not necessarily so. Along with their opposites (protective factors), risk factors are known as determinants.


Method of collecting information about health status, usually during a survey where a person self-reports a status measure such as their height, weight or physical activity.
Term used in this report to reflect a level of importance and, when comparing statistical findings, refers to statistical difference. Statistical significance is based on non-overlap of 95% CIs and where these criteria are not met, non-significant results are described with terms such as ‘similar’, ‘stable’ or ‘no difference’.;
Typically defined as a person who has smoked 100 tobacco cigarettes in their lifetime. While e-cigarettes are classified as a tobacco product under tobacco legislation in Queensland, they are reported separately throughout this report.
Smoking cessation
Typically defined as a smoker who has ceased smoking for a defined period (often 6 months or more). However, for some data, the period of cessation is not recorded. In those instances, cessation is defined as not currently smoking. This applies to results from the Queensland preventive health survey.
Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)
A classification system developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to rank areas within Australia according to the relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. The indexes are revised every 5 years after the Census. See the Australian Bureau of Statistics Socio-economic indexes for areas (SEIFA) 2016 for more information.
Stillbirth (foetal death)
See Perinatal deaths.
Sufficient physical activity for health benefit
Defined as 150 minutes of moderate activity over five or more sessions in a week, for adults and is usually limited to those aged 18–75 years.
Sugar sweetened drinks
ABS definition for drinks that have added sugar (cordials, soft drinks, flavoured mineral waters, energy and electrolyte drinks, fortified waters, and fruit and vegetable drinks).
Suicide and self-inflicted injuries
The intentional taking of one’s own life or deliberately causing one’s own death, with intent verified by coronial assessment. Intentional self-harm includes attempts to suicide, as well as cases where people have intentionally hurt themselves, but not necessarily with the intention of suicide (e.g. acts of self-mutilation).


Refers to the category classified as a body mass index in the range of less than 18.50.


Years of life lost due to disability (YLD)
Measure of burden of disease and injury, capturing health loss due to any short-term or long-term condition.
Years of life lost due to premature death (YLL)
Measure of burden of disease and injury, capturing health loss due to premature death.

Last updated: November 2023