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ALSWH Survey Data

Survey datasets


These are the full Survey datasets from the ALSWH Survey Program. Beginning in 1996, over 14,000 women aged 18-23 (born 1973-78), over 13,500 women aged 45-50 (born 1946-51) and just under 12,500 women aged 70-75 (born 1921-26) completed their first survey. Surveys are generally conducted in a three yearly cycle – e.g., the 1946-51 cohort completed Survey 2 in 1998, the 1921-26 cohort completed their Survey 2 in 1999, and the 1973-78 cohort in 2000. A new cohort of young women, aged 18-23 (born 1989-95), was recruited in 2013. This cohort was surveyed annually from 2013 – 2018 (Surveys 1-6). From Survey 7 onwards the surveys will follow a three-yearly cycle.

Six-month follow up Surveys

From November 2011 the oldest cohort, women born 1921-26, have been surveyed at six-monthly intervals. There are multiple records per participant.

More informationResources
Survey timeline and participant numbersGo to page
Online copies of surveysGo to page
Survey variable labels and formats (SAS)Go to page
Data booksGo to page
Data dictionaryGo to page
Data dictionary supplementGo to page
Notes for data usersGo to page

Core Datasets

These survey subsets are designed for streamlined access, and are suitable:

– for simple, descriptive analyses

– for longitudinal investigations

– as a first step to using and becoming familiar with the full survey datasets

– to test the feasibility of potential research questions

Available through the Australian Data Archive (ADA). Approval takes around 2 weeks and Data is received via email from the ADA.

More informationLinks
Notes on useGo to page
DatabooksGo to page
ADA WebsiteGo to web site


Participant status

Contains dates of survey responses, deaths and withdrawals. Death dates are rounded to the 15th of the month (the actual date is considered sensitive, but may be requested if adequately justified).

More informationResources
Description of Participant status datasets

Other survey datasets

As well as the survey datasets, some supplementary datasets have been created for ease of analysis.

Qualitative Data

Comments recorded on the back page of each survey, under the question ‘Have we missed anything?’

Medications Datasets

There is one dataset per survey where participants gave free text ‘over the counter and non-prescription medications, vitamins, supplements or herbal therapies’. There is one record per ‘medication’ with ATC code added where possible.

Birth Events Datasets

Available for the 1973-78 and 1989-95 cohorts, these datasets contain each reported birth event with associated information (including birth delivery and related issues for each child).


Key Longitudinal Variable Datasets

Available for each of the four ALSWH cohorts, these datasets contain key longitudinal variables that have been harmonised across survey waves to save data users time by reducing duplication of work and programming errors.

More informationResources
Qualitative Data
Medications Data
Birth Event Data – 1989-95 Cohort
Birth Event Data – 1973-78 Cohort
Key Longitudinal Variable Datasets

Dietary Datasets

There is one dataset per survey where one of the following dietary questionnaires was used:

Short Food Survey

Also known as CSIRO Health Diet Score. It was included at the end of Survey 9 of the 1946-51 and 1973-78 cohorts and is planned to be used in upcoming surveys.

Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ)

The FFQ, (also known as the ‘Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiology Studies’, DQES) was included with select surveys of the 1973-78 and 1946-51 cohorts. This dietary questionnaire is property of the Cancer Council Victoria, made available to other parties either on a fee for service basis or as a negotiated collaboration.


The Australian Nutrition Screening Initiative (ANSI) was used only in Surveys 1 and 2 for the 1921-26 Cohort.


More informationResources
Short Food Survey Documentation
FFQ Introductory Information
FFQ Information for Users
Dietary questionnairesGo to page
FFQ Source Variables – Items
FFQ Derived Variables – Nutrients
FFQ Data Management
ANSI Introductory Information