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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
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Contents >> Adult health >> Adult health: Torres Strait Islander people


ADULT 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, 44% of Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (adults) reported excellent/very good health and 20% reported fair/poor health.
  • Around two in five (42%) Torres Strait Islander adults were current daily smokers, and around one in five (18%) drank alcohol at chronic risky/high risk levels.
  • Health outcomes were not significantly different to those reported by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

This topic provides a range of information on the health of Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over, drawing on data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). Information presented includes:
This topic includes some contrasts between Torres Strait Islander people living in the Torres Strait Indigenous Region and those living elsewhere. Comparisons are also provided with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For a more detailed discussion on aspects of adult health for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, see the Adult health topic. For information on other aspects of Torres Strait Islander peoples' health and welfare see the Torres Strait Islander people topic.


SELF-ASSESSED HEALTH

Self-assessed health status provides a common indicator of overall health as perceived by an individual. In 2008, 44% of Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (adults) reported excellent or very good health, 36% reported good health, and 20% rated their health as fair or poor. These were similar to rates reported by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (44%, 34% and 22% respectively). Rates of excellent/very good health were similar for both Torres Strait Islander men and women, and also between people living in the Torres Strait Indigenous Region and those living in other areas of Australia. Younger Torres Strait Islander adults (aged 15–34 years) were more likely to report excellent/very good health than those aged 35 years and over (56% compared with 29%) (graph 7.1).

7.1 SELF-ASSESSED HEALTH, Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over—2008
Graph: Self-assessed health, Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over—2008
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
These estimates are also available for download in the Torres Strait Islander people datacube.


HEALTH RISK FACTORS

In 2008, 42% of Torres Strait Islander adults were current daily smokers, 21% were ex-smokers, and 35% had never smoked. These rates were similar to the rates reported by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (45%, 20% and 33% respectively).

In 2008, 18% of Torres Strait Islander adults reported drinking at chronic risky/high risk levels in the 12 months prior to interview, and 38% at acute risky/high risk levels in the two weeks prior to interview. Around one in five (21%) Torres Strait Islander people reported having used an illicit substance in the 12 months prior to interview and 40% reported having tried at least one illicit substance in their lifetime. These rates were similar to those reported by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.



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