4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/10/2005   
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In 2002, after adjusting for age differences between the populations, Indigenous Australians were twice as likely to report their health as fair or poor as non-Indigenous Australians. There has been a decrease in reported good health and an increase in reported fair or poor health by Indigenous Australians between 1994 and 2002. Levels of reported fair or poor health were higher for those in the lowest income quintile for equivalised household income, for those who were unemployed or not in the labour force, and for those whose highest year of school completed was Year 9 or below.

An examination of data from different sources provides a picture of the conditions responsible for the ill-health among Indigenous Australians. These conditions include circulatory diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal conditions, kidney disease, eye and ear problems and mental and behavioural disorders. These conditions account for most of the consultations with GPs, and are the main reasons for hospitalisation of Indigenous Australians.

Indigenous Australians experience an earlier onset of most chronic diseases, have more GP consultations for the management of certain diseases and are more likely to be hospitalised than other Australians. For example, the prevalence of diabetes among Indigenous Australians was nearly four times the prevalence reported by non-Indigenous Australians; diabetes was managed at a rate of 7 per 100 encounters with Indigenous Australians compared to 3 per 100 encounters with all Australians and Indigenous Australians were hospitalised for diabetes at five times the rate of other Australians.

Hospitalisation rates for a number of other conditions were also higher for Indigenous Australians than for other Australians. For example, the hospitalisation rates for Indigenous Australians for care involving dialysis was 12 times that for other Australians and for respiratory diseases and injury rates were twice those for other Australians.

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