NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Overview of Australian Indigenous health status released

WADEYE ABORIGINAL CLINIC NT

The Overview of Australian Indigenous health status 2014 (Overview) has been released providing a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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DOWNLOAD the REPORT HERE overview_of_indigenous_health_2014

The Overview shows that the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continues to improve slowly.

The Overview confirms that there have been declines in infant mortality rates and an increase in life expectancy. There have also been improvements in a number of areas contributing to health status such as increased immunisation coverage and a slight decrease in the prevalence of tobacco use among Indigenous people.

The Overview is an important part of the HealthInfoNet‘s translation research, which contributes to ‘closing the gap’ in health between Indigenous and other Australians by making research and other knowledge available in a form that is easily understood and readily accessible to both practitioners and policy makers.

View Website for report info

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, said ‘The Overview is our flagship publication and has proved to be a valuable resource for a very wide range of health professionals, policy makers and others working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector.

The Overview provides an accurate, evidence based summary of many health conditions in a form that makes it easy for time poor professionals to keep up to date with the current health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia.

This year, as part of our ongoing commitment to quality improvement we have made some important changes, including a statement on the appropriate use of terminology and a commitment to enhancing a strengths based approach to understanding health issues

Key facts

Population

  • At 30 June 2014, the estimated Australian Indigenous population was 713,600 people.
  • For 2014, it was estimated that NSW had the highest number of Indigenous people (220,902 people, 31% of the total Indigenous population).
  • For 2014, it was estimated that the NT had the highest proportion of Indigenous people in its population (30% of the NT population were Indigenous).
  • In 2011, around 33% of Indigenous people lived in a capital city.
  • There was a 21% increase in the number of Indigenous people counted in the 2011 Census compared with the 2006 Census.
  • The Indigenous population is much younger than the non-Indigenous population.

Births and pregnancy outcome

  • In 2013, there were 18,368 births registered in Australia with one or both parents identified as Indigenous (6% of all births registered).
  • In 2013, Indigenous mothers were younger than non-Indigenous mothers; the median age was 24.9 years for Indigenous mothers and 30.8 years for all mothers.
  • In 2013, total fertility rates were 2,344 births per 1,000 for Indigenous women and 1,882 per 1,000 for all women.
  • In 2012, the average birthweight of babies born to Indigenous mothers was 3,211 grams compared with 3,373 grams for babies born to non-Indigenous mothers.
  • In 2012, the proportion of low birthweight babies born to Indigenous women was twice that of non-Indigenous women (11.8% compared with 6.2%).

Mortality

  • In 2006-2010, the age-standardised death rate for Indigenous people was 1.9 times the rate for non-Indigenous people.
  • Between 1991 and 2010, there was a 33% reduction in the death rates for Indigenous people in WA, SA and the NT.
  • For Indigenous people born 2010-2012, life expectancy was estimated to be 69.1 years for males and 73.7 years for females, around 10-11 years less than the estimates for non-Indigenous males and females.
  • In 2008-2012, age-specific death rates were higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people across all age-groups, and were much higher in the young and middle adult years.
  • For 2010-2012, the infant mortality rate was higher for Indigenous infants than for non-Indigenous infants; the rate for Indigenous infants was highest in the NT.
  • From 1998 to 2012, there were significant declines in infant mortality rates for Indigenous infants.
  • For 2012, the leading causes of death among Indigenous people were cardiovascular disease, neoplasms (almost entirely cancers), and injury.
  • In 2006-2010, for direct maternal deaths the rate ratio was almost 4 times higher for Indigenous women than for non-Indigenous women.

Hospitalisation

  • In 2012-13, 4.0% of all hospitalisations were of Indigenous people.
  • In 2012-13, the age-standardised separation rate for Indigenous people was 2.7 times higher than for other Australians.
  • In 2012-13, the main cause of hospitalisation for Indigenous people was for care involving dialysis, responsible for 48% of Indigenous separations.

Selected health conditions

Cardiovascular disease

  • In 2012-2013, 13% of Indigenous people reported having a long-term heart or related condition; after age-adjustment, these conditions were around 1.2 times more common for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2012, hospitalisation rates for circulatory disease were 1.6 times higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2012, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death for Indigenous people, accounting for 25% of Indigenous deaths.
  • In 2012, the age-adjusted death rate for Indigenous people was 1.6 times the rate for non-Indigenous people.

Cancer

  • In 2005-2009, age-adjusted cancer incidence rates were slightly lower for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2004-2008, the most common cancers diagnosed among Indigenous people were lung and breast cancer.
  • In 2012-13, age-standardised hospitalisation rates for cancer were lower for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2012, the age-standardised death rate for cancer for Indigenous people was 1.5 times higher than for non-Indigenous people.

Diabetes

  • In 2012-2013, 8% of Indigenous people reported having diabetes; after age-adjustment, Indigenous people were 3.3 times more likely to report having some form of diabetes than were non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2013-14, age-adjusted hospitalisation rates for diabetes for Indigenous males and females were 3 and 5 times the rates for other males and females.
  • In 2012, Indigenous people died from diabetes at 7 times the rate of non-Indigenous people.

Social and emotional wellbeing

  • In 2012-13, 69% of Indigenous adults experienced at least one significant stressor in the previous 12 months.
  • In 2012-13, after age-adjustment, Indigenous people were 2.7 times as likely as non-Indigenous people to feel high or very high levels of psychological distress.
  • In 2008, 90% of Indigenous people reported feeling happy either some, most, or all of the time.
  • In 2011-12, after age-adjustment, Indigenous people were hospitalised for ICD ‘Mental and behavioural disorders’ at 2.1 times the rate for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2012-13, there were 16,393 hospital separations with a principal diagnosis of ICD ‘Mental and behavioural disorders’ identified as Indigenous.
  • In 2012, the death rate for ICD ‘Intentional self-harm’ (suicide) for Indigenous people was 2.0 times the rate reported for non-Indigenous people.

Kidney health

  • In 2009-2013, after age-adjustment, the notification rate of end stage renal disease was 6.2 times higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2012-13, care involving dialysis was the most common reason for hospitalisation among Indigenous people.
  • In 2008-2012, the age-standardised death rate from kidney disease was 2.6 times higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.

Injury

  • In 2012-13, after age-adjustment, Indigenous people were hospitalised for injury at nearly twice the rate for other Australians.
  • In 2012-13, the hospitalisation rate for assault was 34 times higher for Indigenous women than for other women.
  • In 2012, injury was the third most common cause of death among Indigenous people, accounting for 15% of Indigenous deaths.

Respiratory disease

  • In 2012-2013, 31% of Indigenous people reported having a respiratory condition. After age-adjustment, the level of respiratory disease was 1.2 times higher for Indigenous than non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2012-2013, 18% of Indigenous people reported having asthma.
  • In 2012-13, after age-adjustment, rates for Indigenous people were 4.4 times higher for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 3.3 times higher for influenza and pneumonia, 1.8 times higher for asthma, 1.8 times higher for acute upper respiratory infections and 1.4 times higher for whooping cough, than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.
  • In 2012, after age-adjustment, the death rate for respiratory disease for Indigenous people was 2.2 times that for non-Indigenous people.

Eye health

  • In 2012-2013, eye and sight problems were reported by 33% of Indigenous people.
  • In 2008, the rate of low vision for Indigenous adults aged 40 years and older was 2.8 times higher than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.
  • In 2008, the rate of blindness for Indigenous adults aged 40 years and older was 6.2 times higher than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Ear health and hearing

  • In 2012-2013, ear/hearing problems were reported by 12% of Indigenous people.
  • In 2012-13, the hospitalisation rate for ear/hearing problems for Indigenous children aged 0-3 years was 0.8 times lower the rate for non-Indigenous children and the rate for Indigenous children aged 4-14 years was 1.6 times higher than the rate for non-Indigenous children.

Oral health

  • In 2007-2008 in NSW, SA, Tas and the NT, Indigenous children had more dental problems than non-Indigenous children.
  • In 2004-2006, caries and periodontal diseases were more prevalent among Indigenous adults than among non-Indigenous adults.

Disability

  • In 2008, after age-adjustment, Indigenous people were 2.2 times as likely as non-Indigenous people to have a profound/core activity restriction.

Communicable diseases

  • In 2006-2010, after age-adjustment, the notification rate for tuberculosis was 12.5 times higher for Indigenous people than for Australian-born non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2011-2013, the crude notification rate for hepatitis B was 5 times higher for Indigenous people than non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2011-2013, the crude notification rate for hepatitis C for Indigenous people was 3.7 times higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2007-2010, notification rates for Haemophilus influenza type b were 12.9 times higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2011, the age-standardised rate of invasive pneumococcal disease was 8 times higher for Indigenous people than for other Australians.
  • In 2007-2010, the age-standardised notification rate of meningococcal disease was 2.7 times higher for Indigenous people than for other Australians; the rate for Indigenous children aged 0-4 years was 3.8 times higher than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.
  • In 2013, Indigenous people had higher crude notification rates for gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia than non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2013, age-standardised rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis were 1.3 times higher for Indigenous than non-Indigenous people.
  • In some remote communities, more than 70% of young children had scabies and pyoderma.

Factors contributing to Indigenous health

Nutrition

  • In 2012-2013, less than one half of Indigenous people reported eating an adequate amount of fruit (42%) and only one-in-twenty ate enough vegetables (5%) on a daily basis.

Physical activity

  • In 2012-13, 46% of Indigenous adults met the target of 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days.
  • In 2012-2013, after age-adjustment, 62% of Indigenous people in non-remote areas reported that they were physically inactive, a similar level to that of non-Indigenous people.

Bodyweight

  • In 2012-2013, 66% of Indigenous adults were classified as overweight or obese; after age-adjustment, the level of obesity/overweight was 1.2 times higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.

Immunisation

  • In 2013, 93% of Indigenous children aged 5 years were fully immunised against the recommended vaccine-preventable diseases.

Breastfeeding

  • In 2010, breastfeeding initiation levels were similar among Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers (87% and 90% respectively).

Tobacco use

  • In 2012-13, 44% of Indigenous adults were current smokers; after age-adjustment, this proportion was 2.5 times higher than the proportion among non-Indigenous adults.
  • Between 2002 and 2013, there has been a decline in the number of cigarettes smoked daily among Indigenous people.
  • In 2011, 50% of Indigenous mothers reported smoking during pregnancy.

Alcohol use

  • In 2012-13, 23% of Indigenous adults abstained from alcohol; this level was 1.6 times higher than among the non-Indigenous population.
  • In 2012-2013, after age-adjustment, lifetime drinking risk was similar for both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous population. In 2008-10, after age-adjustment, Indigenous males were hospitalised at 5 times and Indigenous females at 4 times the rates of their non-Indigenous counterparts for a principal diagnosis related to alcohol use.
  • In 2006-2010, the age-standardised death rates for alcohol-related deaths for Indigenous males and females were 5 and 8 times higher respectively, than those for their non-counterparts.

Illicit drug use

  • In 2012-13, 22% of Indigenous adults reported that they had used an illicit substance in the previous 12 months.
  • In 2005-2009, the rate of drug-induced deaths was 1.5 times higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.

 

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