4727.0.55.001 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: First Results, Australia, 2012-13  
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ASTHMA

Asthma is a respiratory condition affecting the airways of the lungs, causing episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness due to the narrowing of the airways. Asthma affects people of all ages and can usually be managed through appropriate treatment.


RESULTS FROM 2012–13

In 2012–13, about one in six (18%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having asthma.

Rates of asthma were significantly higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females than males (20% compared with 15%).

Asthma rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people tended to increase with age, affecting about one in seven (15%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years and just over one in five (22%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 45 years and over.

ASTHMA BY AGE, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—2012–13
Graph: Asthma by age

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas were twice as likely as those in remote areas to have asthma (20% compared with 10%). Asthma rates ranged from 21% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in major cities and inner regional areas to 8% of those in very remote areas.

ASTHMA BY REMOTENESS AREA, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
—2012–13

Graph: Asthma by remoteness area

CHANGE OVER TIME

The prevalence of asthma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did not change significantly between 2001 and 2012–13 (rates of 16% and 18%, respectively).


HOW DO THESE RATES COMPARE WITH THE RATES FOR NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLE?

After adjusting for differences in age structure between the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were almost twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to have asthma (rate ratio of 1.9). There were statistically significant differences for both females (rate ratio of 2.1) and males (rate ratio of 1.5).

There were also statistically significant differences between the asthma rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people in every age group.

Graph Image for Asthma, by Indigenous status and age

Footnote(s): (a) Difference between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous rate is not statistically significant.

Source(s): 2012-13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey and 2011-12 Australian Health Survey



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