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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Australian Aboriginal birth cohort study commenced fourth wave of data collection

Date posted: 17 October 2013

The oldest and largest study of Aboriginal people in Australia has begun its fourth wave of data collection.

The Australian Aboriginal birth cohort study (ABC study), aims to identify early those most at risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and mental health issues, and help target intervention strategies at the appropriate age.

This prospective life course study based at the Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, has been following the health of 686 Aboriginal people since their birth in 1987 to 1990, and previously completed two successful follow-up waves when participants were aged 11 and 18 years.

Chief Investigator, Dr Gurmeet Singh said the study participants, now aged between 24 and 28 years, were at a crucial time for identifying early risk factors for chronic diseases. 'This upcoming round of comprehensive health checks will enable us to confirm if this increase in body weight does indeed occur at this age, as well as allow us to assess the effect of obesity on early markers of chronic disease,' Dr Singh said.

A research team will visit participants in Darwin and at over 40 urban and remote communities across the Top End from 2013 through to 2015. Participants will undergo a comprehensive health check including body measurements, ultrasounds, heart rate monitoring, blood pressure, blood and urine tests, and emotional wellbeing assessments.

The ABC study has to date been highly successful, resulting in over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and has been supported by grants from National Health and Medical Research Council, the Heart Foundation, the Colonial Foundation, Channel 7 Foundation SA, Darwin Honda, CVL Pfizer, and an NT Research and Innovation Award.

Source: Menzies School of Health Research


Menzies School of Health Research
Australian Aboriginal birth cohort study
Belinda Davison
Project Manager
Mobile: 0458 543 765


Last updated: 21 October 2013
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