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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2008   
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Contents >> Health Risk Factors >> RISK FACTORS AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS

RISK FACTORS AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS

As outlined in Chapter 2, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience disadvantage across a range of socioeconomic indicators including education, employment, income and housing. There is strong evidence from Australia and other developed countries that low socioeconomic status is associated with poor health and increased exposure to health risk factors (Blakely, Hales & Woodward 2004; Turrell & Mathers 2000; Carson et al 2007). For example, in 2004-05, Indigenous people with low levels of educational attainment were more likely than those who had completed Year 12 to regularly smoke, to consume alcohol at risky/high risk levels, and to engage in low levels of exercise, and were less likely to eat fruit or vegetables on a daily basis (table 8.1).

However, because of the close associations between particular socioeconomic variables (e.g. education and employment) and because the causal relationship between health and socioeconomic status can sometimes work both ways (e.g. low educational attainment may lead to poor health but poor health may also lead to low educational attainment), it is difficult to measure and quantify these relationships in household surveys.

8.1 HEALTH RISK FACTORS, by selected socioeconomic characteristics - Indigenous persons - 2004-05

Highest year of school completed(a)
Labour force status
Equivalised household income(b)
Year 12
Year 9 or below
Employed
Unemployed
Third quintile and above
First & second quintile
Selected risk factors
%
%
%
%
%
%

Current daily smokers(c)
(d)34.3
(d)54.9
(e)45.2
(e)66.3
(f)39.7
(f)55.4
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption(c)
(d)12.2
(d)17.2
19.1
20.4
18.4
15.5
Has used illicit substances in last 12 months(g)(h)
27.6
35.4
26.0
27.9
28.4
29.3
Sedentary/low level of exercise(g)(h)
(d)70.5
(d)81.9
73.7
69.4
75.2
74.5
Overweight/obese(g)(i)
56.2
61.9
58.7
51.4
57.0
56.7
Does not eat fruit daily(g)
(d)9.4
(d)16.9
14.3
14.4
(f)10.4
(f)16.6
Does not eat vegetables daily(g)
(d)3.8
(d)7.7
5.0
4.0
(f)1.0
(f)7.4

(a) Excludes persons still attending school.
(b) See the Glossary for more information.
(c) Persons aged 18 years and over.
(d) Difference between Year 12 and Year 9 or below is statistically significant.
(e) Difference between Employed and Unemployed is statistically significant.
(f) Difference between First & Second quintile and Third quintile and above is statistically significant.
(g) Persons aged 15 years and over.
(h) Persons in non-remote areas only.
(i) Proportions are calculated excluding 'Body Mass Index not known'.
Source: ABS 2004-05 NATSIHS






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