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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Diabetes death rate rises in Indigenous communities

Date posted: 26 March 2014

Indigenous West Australians (WA) are now more than 10 times more likely to die due to diabetes than their non-Indigenous counterparts, according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The data from the ABS has revealed a quickly growing gap between the number of Indigenous people dying because of the disease, compared to the non-Indigenous population. The ABS figures shows diabetes is the second most common cause of death for Western Australia's Indigenous population, causing 159 deaths per 100,000 people in 2012.

That rate has increased nearly 10% over the past decade, but during the same period, the death rate for non-Indigenous people in WA due to diabetes has dropped more than 20%, and it is the seventh most common cause of death.

Curtin University health expert Mike Daube says the conflicting result is a cause for concern. 'We know that poor diet, inappropriate nutrition and obesity is a growing cause of death among Aboriginal people and a growing contributor to the life expectancy gap,' he said. 

'There's not an instant quick fix but we have to do much more to support Aboriginal people and Aboriginal communities, and make access to healthy food cheaper and easier. In a way Aboriginal people are doubly at risk, with all the historic disadvantages and now they're subject to the disadvantages of poor diet and poor access to healthy food,' he said.

Heart disease is the most common cause of death for WA's Indigenous population, followed by diabetes and intentional self-harm.

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 31 March 2014
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