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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
 
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spacing1Health FAQs

The Health FAQs provide brief answers to questions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, with information about Indigenous people, health problems and common risk factors. The answers are updated regularly as new information becomes available, and will expand to include information about other health conditions and social determinants.

What do we know about the Indigenous population?

Population details
Indigenous people make up 3% of the population in Australia. NSW has the largest Indigenous population and the NT has the highest proportion of Indigenous people.
More about population details
Identification of Indigenous status
The identification of Indigenous people for statistical collections is based largely on self-identification.
More about identification of Indigenous status
Births
Indigenous women in Australia have more babies than non-Indigenous women. Indigenous women generally have babies earlier in life than non-Indigenous women.
More about births
Deaths
Indigenous Australians die at a younger age than non-Indigenous Australians. Currently, Indigenous women are expected to live until almost 73 years of age and Indigenous men are expected to live until around 67 years of age. These estimates have been revised and are substantially higher than they were in the past.
More about deaths
Hospitalisation
Indigenous people are admitted to the hospital more than non-Indigenous people. Many of the admissions involve dialysis (a treatment for kidney disease).
More about hospitalisation

What do we know about specific health conditions among the Indigenous population?

Cardiovascular disease
Indigenous people are diagnosed more frequently and suffer higher mortality from cardiovascular disease than non-Indigenous people.
More about cardiovascular disease
Cancer
Indigenous people are diagnosed with cancer slightly more frequently than non-Indigenous people. The mortality of Indigenous people from cancer is higher than that of non-Indigenous people.
More about cancer
Diabetes
Diabetes is much more common among Indigenous people and occurs at younger ages than among non-Indigenous people.
More about diabetes
Social and emotional wellbeing
Indigenous people report experiencing more significant stressors and higher levels of psychological distress when compared with non-Indigenous people. Hospitalisation and deaths due to 'mental and behavioural disorders' are also higher for the Indigenous population than they are for the non-Indigenous population.
More about social and emotional wellbeing
Kidney health
Kidney health is a very serious problem among the Indigenous population and the leading cause of Indigenous hospital admissions.
More about kidney health
Injury
Injury is much more common among Indigenous people and occurs at younger ages than among non-Indigenous people.
More about injury
Respiratory health
Levels of respiratory disease are similar for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, but asthma is more common among Indigenous people. Indigenous people are more than twice as likely to die from a respiratory disease as other Australians.
More about respiratory health
Eye health
Blindness was six times more common for Indigenous people than non-Indigenous people aged over 40 years, even though Indigenous children have better vision better than non-Indigenous children.
More about eye conditions
Ear health
Levels of ear disease and hearing problems were higher for Indigenous people than non-Indigenous people, especially for children and young people.
More about ear health
Oral health
Oral health problems, including caries and gum disease, are more common among Indigenous people than among non-Indigenous people.
More about oral health
Disability
Disability is much more common among Indigenous people and occurs at younger ages than among non-Indigenous people.
More about disability
Communicable diseases
The communicable diseases that are most important to the health of Indigenous people include: tuberculosis; hepatitis; sexually transmissible infections; HIV/AIDS; Haemophilus influenzae type b; pneumococcal disease; meningococcal disease; and skin infections and infestations. Most of these communicable diseases are far more common in the Indigenous population than the non-Indigenous population.
More about communicable diseases

What do we know about protective and risk factors among the Indigenous population?

Nutrition
Most Indigenous people eat fruits and vegetables every day, but are more likely than non-Indigenous people to miss out on eating enough of them daily.
More about nutrition
Physical activity
Indigenous people are less physically active than non-Indigenous people.
More about physical activity
Tobacco use
Tobacco use is more common among Indigenous people than non-Indigenous people, contributing to a greater burden of disease.
More about tobacco use
Alcohol use
Indigenous people are more likely to not drink any alcohol than non-Indigenous people, but Indigenous who do drink are more likely to do it at harmful levels.
More about alcohol use
Injecting drug use
Injecting drug use is more common among Indigenous people than among non-Indigenous people. Disadvantage in areas such as education, employment and income contribute to the greater use of illicit drugs.
More about injecting drug use

What are the main references about Indigenous health?

We have provided an up-to-date list of publications and reports that provide a good overall picture of Indigenous health.
More about main references

Related resources

 
Last updated: 28 July 2014
 
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