Burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: The Indigenous health gap

Vos, Theo, Barker, Bridget, Begg, Stephen, Stanley, Lucy and Lopez, Alan D. (2009) Burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: The Indigenous health gap. International Journal of Epidemiology, 38 2: 470-477. doi:10.1093/ije/dyn240


Author Vos, Theo
Barker, Bridget
Begg, Stephen
Stanley, Lucy
Lopez, Alan D.
Title Burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: The Indigenous health gap
Journal name International Journal of Epidemiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1464-3685
0300-5771
Publication date 2009-04-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/ije/dyn240
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 38
Issue 2
Start page 470
End page 477
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Oxford University Press
Language eng
Subject C1
920302 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health Status and Outcomes
111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Abstract Background: Disparities in health status between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the total Australian population have been documented in a fragmentary manner using disparate health outcome measures. Methods: We applied the burden of disease approach to national population health datasets and Indigenous-specific epidemiological studies. The main outcome measure is the Indigenous health gap, i.e. the difference between current rates of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) by age, sex and cause for Indigenous Australians and DALY rates if the same level of mortality and disability as in the total Australian population had applied. Results: The Indigenous health gap accounted for 59% of the total burden of disease for Indigenous Australians in 2003 indicating a very large potential for health gain. Non-communicable diseases explained 70% of the health gap. Tobacco (17%), high body mass (16%), physical inactivity (12%), high blood cholesterol (7%) and alcohol (4%) were the main risk factors contributing to the health gap. While the 26% of Indigenous Australians residing in remote areas experienced a disproportionate amount of the health gap (40%) compared with non-remote areas, the majority of the health gap affects residents of non-remote areas. Discussion: Comprehensive information on the burden of disease for Indigenous Australians is essential for informed health priority setting. This assessment has identified large health gaps which translate into opportunities for large health gains. It provides the empirical base to determine a more equitable and efficient funding of Indigenous health in Australia. The methods are replicable and would benefit priority setting in other countries with great disparities in health experienced by Indigenous peoples or other disadvantaged population groups. © Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association
Formatted abstract
Background Disparities in health status between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the total Australian population have been documented in a fragmentary manner using disparate health outcome measures.

Methods We applied the burden of disease approach to national population health datasets and Indigenous-specific epidemiological studies. The main outcome measure is the Indigenous health gap, i.e. the difference between current rates of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) by age, sex and cause for Indigenous Australians and DALY rates if the same level of mortality and disability as in the total Australian population had applied.

Results The Indigenous health gap accounted for 59 of the total burden of disease for Indigenous Australians in 2003 indicating a very large potential for health gain. Non-communicable diseases explained 70 of the health gap. Tobacco (17), high body mass (16), physical inactivity (12), high blood cholesterol (7) and alcohol (4) were the main risk factors contributing to the health gap. While the 26 of Indigenous Australians residing in remote areas experienced a disproportionate amount of the health gap (40) compared with non-remote areas, the majority of the health gap affects residents of non-remote areas.

Discussion Comprehensive information on the burden of disease for Indigenous Australians is essential for informed health priority setting. This assessment has identified large health gaps which translate into opportunities for large health gains. It provides the empirical base to determine a more equitable and efficient funding of Indigenous health in Australia. The methods are replicable and would benefit priority setting in other countries with great disparities in health experienced by Indigenous peoples or other disadvantaged population groups.
Copyright The Author 2008; all rights reserved.
Keyword Burden of disease
Indigenous
Australia
Risk factors
Health gap
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Advance Access publication 30 November 2008

 
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Created: Thu, 16 Apr 2009, 00:39:12 EST by Sarah Calderwood on behalf of School of Public Health