4147.4.55.001 - Culture and Recreation News, Jan 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/01/2003   
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Two-thirds of Indigenous Australian people aged 15 years and over considered their health to be good, very good, or excellent, according to a health survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which was conducted in association with the 2001 National Health Survey.

However, Indigenous Australians were nearly twice as likely to report their health as 'fair or poor' compared with non-Indigenous people (34% and 18% respectively). Indigenous females were more likely overall to report 'fair or poor' health than Indigenous males (29% compared with 23%).

The Indigenous Australian population is considerably younger than the non-Indigenous population. The close relationship between health and age makes it misleading to compare total populations with differing age structures. Thus, comparisons between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are presented by age group or by using age standardised rates, to allow for the effect of age.

The survey found that, after adjusting for age differences and non-response, Indigenous Australians were more likely (61%) to be classified as overweight or obese when compared with non-Indigenous Australians (48%). The percentage of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, aged 18 years and over and classified as obese, has increased since 1995.

Due to collection difficulties, information relating to exercise was not collected for Indigenous Australians living in remote areas. In the two weeks prior to interview, 71% of Indigenous Australian adults in non-remote areas reported their levels of exercise for recreation, sport or fitness as either sedentary or low. After adjusting for age differences, this is a similar percentage to that reported by non-Indigenous Australian adults (68%).

Information was also collected relating to smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as a wide range of other health data.

Main features of National Health Survey: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Results, Australia, 2001 are available free of charge on this site.