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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

05/04/2013 Note: 2002 and 2008 NATSISS alcohol data by risk level have been revised. For more information, see the Information Paper (Catalogue No. 4714.0.55.005).


ADULT HEALTH
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

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have poorer self-assessed health and were more likely to report higher levels of psychological distress than non-Indigenous Australians:
  • In 2008, 44% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported excellent/very good health and 22% reported fair/poor health.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to report fair/poor health. This gap has remained unchanged since 2002.
  • Nearly one-third (32%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18 years and over had experienced high/very high levels of psychological distress, which was more than twice the rate for non-Indigenous people.

Both tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are major health risk factors. Latest results show a decline in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking rates, while alcohol consumption remains steady:
  • Between 2002 and 2008, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander current daily smokers fell from 49% to 45%, representing the first significant decline in smoking rates since 1994. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remained twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to be current daily smokers.
  • Around one in six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (17%) drank alcohol at chronic risky/high risk levels, similar to the rate reported in 2002 (15%).

It is widely accepted that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience poorer health and higher rates of chronic disease than non-Indigenous people. The burden of disease suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is estimated to be two-and-a-half times greater than the burden of disease in the total Australian population. Health risk factors, such as smoking and alcohol misuse, explained over a third of this total burden for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and were responsible for almost half of the burden of disease gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians in 2003 (Endnote 1).

This article provides a range of information on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, drawing mostly on data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS).

Topics covered in this article include:

Health status
Health risk factors
Other related topics
ENDNOTE

1. Vos, T., Barker, B., Stanley, L., and Lopez, A. 2007, 'The Burden of Disease and Injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2003', School of Population Health, Brisbane, <www.uq.edu.au>.




This section contains the following subsection :
      Mothers' and children's health
      Health status: self-assessed health (Adults)
      Health status: psychological distress
      Health risk factors and socioeconomic status
      Health risk factors: smoking
      Health risk factors: alcohol consumption
      Health risk factors: illicit substance use
      Adult health: Torres Strait Islander people

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