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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/02/2011  Final
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Contents >> Adult health >> Mothers' and children's health >> Mothers' and children's health: Torres Strait Islander people


MOTHERS' AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH: TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE
This article is part of a comprehensive series released as The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.


KEY MESSAGES
  • In 2008, the majority (78%) of birth mothers of Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years had regular check-ups while pregnant (at least one every two months).
  • Over eight in ten (82%) Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years had been breastfed.
  • Over three-quarters (78%) of Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years were reported to be in excellent or very good health.
  • Outcomes for Torres Strait Islander mothers and children were similar to those for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and children.

This topic provides a range of information on aspects of Torres Strait Islander mothers' and children's health, drawing mostly on data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). Information presented includes:
This topic includes some comparisons with the overall Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. For a more detailed discussion on aspects of mothers' and children's health for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, see the Mothers' and children's health topic. For information on other aspects of Torres Strait Islander peoples' health and welfare see the Torres Strait Islander people topic.


PREGNANCY AND MATERNAL HEALTH

Nationally, 78% of birth-mothers of Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years in 2008, reported having regular check-ups while pregnant (at least one every two months). The most frequently consulted health professional for antenatal checkups was a doctor, GP or obstetrician (62%), followed by a midwife or nurse (40%).

Half of birth-mothers (50%) of Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years reported taking folate supplements before or during pregnancy.

In 2008, 82% of Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years were currently breastfeeding or had previously been breastfed. The median age at which breastfeeding stopped (for children aged 0–3 years who had been and who were not currently being breastfed) was 18 weeks.

To decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the supine position (sleeping on the back) is recommended as the safest sleeping position from birth. For Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–3 years, nearly half (48%) usually slept on their back.

Pregnancy and maternal health outcomes for Torres Strait Islander children and their mothers were similar to those for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their mothers.


CHILDREN'S HEALTH

In 2008, 78% of Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years were reported to be in excellent or very good health, similar to the rate for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (79%).

Over half (60%) of Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years lived with a current daily smoker and 17% lived in households with indoor smokers.

Just over two-thirds (67%) of Torres Strait Islander children aged 1–14 years were reported to eat fruit every day, while around half (53%) ate vegetables daily.

The majority (69%) of Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years were physically active for at least 60 minutes everyday in the week prior to interview, and 48% had played organised sport in the last 12 months.

Spending more than two hours each day on screen-based activities during childhood and adolescence is associated with being overweight, having poor fitness, smoking and generally poorer health in adulthood (Endnote 1). In 2008, 62% of Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–14 years spent more than two hours per day watching television, videos or DVDs.

Health outcomes for Torres Strait Islander children were similar to those for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in 2008.


ENDNOTE

1. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 2005, 'Physical Activity Recommendations for 5-12 year olds and Physical Activity Recommendations for 12-18 year olds', <www.healthyactive.gov.au>



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