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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> Health >> Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

HEALTH OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AUSTRALIANS

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience disadvantage across a range of socioeconomic indicators. There is strong evidence from Australia and other developed countries that low socioeconomic status is associated with poor health and increased exposure to a range of health risk factors.


General health

In the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS), conducted by the ABS, just over three-quarters of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over assessed their health as good, very good or excellent while 22% reported their health as fair or poor. After adjusting for differences in the age structure between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, Indigenous people were almost twice as likely to report their health as fair or poor.


Long-term conditions

Around two-thirds (65%) of Indigenous people had at least one long-term health condition in 2004-05 (table 11.24). While Indigenous and non-Indigenous people overall were equally likely to report a long-term condition, the prevalence of long-term condition(s) was higher among Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians in the age groups from 25-54 years.

Eye/sight problems (30%), asthma (15%), back and disc disorders (13%), heart/circulatory diseases (12%) and ear/hearing problems (12%) were the most commonly reported long-term health conditions among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in 2004-05. In addition, 6% of Indigenous people reported diabetes and 2% reported kidney disease. After adjusting for differences in the age structure between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, Indigenous people were more than ten times as likely as non-Indigenous people to have kidney disease, three times as likely to have diabetes, and one-and-a-half times as likely to have asthma.

For detailed information on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and kidney disease among Indigenous Australians, refer to 'Selected chronic conditions among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' in Australian Social Trends, 2007 (4102.0).


11.24 INDIGENOUS PERSONS, Selected long-term health conditions and risk factors - 2004-05

Total Indigenous
Indigenous to non-Indigenous rate
Long-term health conditions (ICD-10)
%
ratio

Arthritis
9
1.2
Asthma
15
1.6
Back pain/problems n.e.c., disc disorders
13
1.2
Diabetes/high sugar levels
6
3.4
Ear/hearing problems(a)
12
1.0
Eye/sight problems
30
0.9
Heart and circulatory problems/diseases
12
1.3
Kidney disease
2
10.0
Neoplasms/cancer
1
0.7
Osteoporosis
1
0.7
Lifestyle risk factors(b)
Overweight/obese
60
1.2
Current daily smoker
50
2.2
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption - short-term
19
2.1
Risky/high risk alcohol consumption - long-term
16
1.1

(a) Rate ratio is not age-standardised for ear/hearing problems.
(b) Persons aged 18 years and over.
Source: ABS data available on request, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Australia (4715.0).



Lifestyle risk factors

Based on self-reported height and weight information collected in the 2004-05 NATSIHS, six in ten Indigenous adults were overweight (29%) or obese (31%), similar to non-Indigenous adults (rate ratio of 1.2) (table 11.24). The proportion of Indigenous adults who smoked regularly (one or more cigarettes a day, on average) was also high at 50%, and more than twice the rate for non-Indigenous adults.

Alcohol consumption risk levels are based on National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for risk of harm in the short and long-term. In the 2004-05 NATSIHS, around half of all Indigenous adults (49%) reported having consumed alcohol in the week prior to being surveyed, and 16% reported drinking at long-term risky/high risk levels. In addition, one in five Indigenous adults (19%) reported drinking at short-term risky/high risk levels at least once a week in the last 12 months, double the rate reported by non-Indigenous adults.
11.25 NATIONAL NOTIFIABLE DISEASE SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM REPORTS

Notifications
Rate(a)
Disease(c)
2005(b)
2006
2004(b)
2005(b)
2006

Blood-borne diseases
Hepatitis B (incident)
251
295
1.4
1.2
1.4
Hepatitis B (unspecified)
6 336
6 296
28.8
31.2
30.6
Hepatitis C (incident)
374
431
2.3
1.8
2.1
Hepatitis C (unspecified)
12 023
12 057
63.4
59.1
58.5
Hepatitis D
30
31
0.1
0.1
0.2
Hepatitis n.e.c.
-
1
-
-
-
Gastrointestinal diseases
Botulism
3
1
-
-
-
Campylobacteriosis
16 488
15 398
116.4
121.6
111.8
Cryptosporidiosis
3 211
3 201
8.4
15.8
15.5
Haemolytic uraemic syndrome
20
13
0.1
0.1
0.1
Hepatitis A
326
280
1.6
1.6
1.4
Hepatitis E
30
23
0.1
0.1
0.1
Listeriosis
54
61
0.3
0.3
0.3
Salmonellosis
8 425
8 261
39.0
41.4
40.1
Shigellosis
729
543
2.6
3.6
2.6
SLTEC, VTEC(d)
86
70
0.2
0.4
0.3
Typhoid
52
78
0.4
0.3
0.4
Quarantinable diseases
Cholera
3
3
-
-
-
Sexually transmissible diseases
Chlamydial infection
41 376
47 030
180.1
203.5
228.2
Donovanosis
13
4
-
0.1
-
Gonococcal infection
8 083
8 550
35.7
39.8
41.5
Syphilis less than 2 years duration
632
815
3.1
3.1
4.0
Syphilis more than 2 years duration
1 589
1 581
7.9
7.8
7.7
Syphilis - congenital
15
14
0.1
0.1
0.1
Vaccine preventable diseases
Diphtheria
-
-
-
-
-
Haemophilus influenza type b
17
22
0.1
0.1
0.1
Influenza (laboratory confirmed)
4 565
3 159
10.6
22.5
15.3
Measles
10
125
0.2
-
0.6
Mumps
241
275
0.5
1.2
1.3
Pertussis
11 197
10 998
43.5
55.1
53.4
Pneumococcal disease
1 749
1 443
11.8
8.6
7.0
Rubella
31
59
0.2
0.2
0.3
Rubella - congenital
1
-
-
-
-
Tetanus
2
3
-
-
-
Varicella Infection (Chicken Pox)(e)
-
1 514
-
-
11.0
Varicella Infection (unspecified)(e)
-
3 565
-
-
25.9
Varicella zoster infection(e)
-
1 077
-
-
7.8
Vector-borne diseases
Barmah Forest virus infection
1 322
2 120
5.5
6.5
10.3
Dengue
221
187
1.7
1.1
0.9
Flavivirus n.e.c.
29
33
0.3
0.1
0.2
Japanese encephalitis
-
-
-
-
-
Kunjin virus
1
3
0.1
-
-
Malaria
823
775
2.8
4.0
3.8
Murray Valley encephalitis
2
1
-
-
-
Ross River virus infection
2 546
5 487
20.9
12.5
26.6
Zoonoses
Anthrax
-
1
-
-
-
Brucellosis
41
49
0.2
0.2
0.2
Leptospirosis
129
147
0.9
0.6
0.7
Ornithosis
164
168
1.2
0.8
0.8
Q fever
355
402
2.3
1.7
2.0
Other diseases
Legionnellosis
334
348
1.6
1.6
1.7
Leprosy
10
5
-
-
-
Meningococcal infection
392
318
2.0
1.9
1.5
Tuberculosis
1 083
1 229
5.6
5.3
6.0
Total
125 414
138 550
565.1
616.9
672.4

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Revised totals for 2004 to 2006 as at July 2007. Totals may vary over time as notifications are subject to revision.
(b) Diseases reported to NNDSS from all jurisdictions except incident hepatitis C not reported from Qld; campylobacteriosis not reported from NSW.
(c) Rate per 100,000 population is calculated using the estimated resident population at the midpoint (30 June) of the relevant calendar year.
(d) SLTEC/VTEC: Shiga-like toxin/verotoxin producing E. coli infections.
(e) Not notifiable prior to 2006.
Source: Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, 'National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System', last viewed July 2007,
<
http://www.health.gov.au/cda/source/CDA-index.cfm>.





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