The main purpose of the Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status is to provide a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health and current health status of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- There have been improvements in birth and pregnancy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies in recent years, with evidence of an increase in the proportion of mothers attending antenatal care in the first trimester, a decrease in the rate of mothers smoking during pregnancy, and a slight decrease in the proportion of babies born small for gestational age.
- Life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people varied considerably by remoteness of residence. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in major cities had a higher life expectancy compared with those living in remote and very remote areas. The lowest median age of death for males was reported for the NT, and for females was in WA. In 2019, the median age at death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT was 60.4 years.
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD) presents a significant burden for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in terms of prevalence, hospitalisation and mortality. Evidence shows that the risk of CVD starts relatively early for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and a consensus statement was released this year recommending that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people begin having CVD risk assessments at younger ages because of early disease onset.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately affected by the diseases associated with poor environmental health due to a number of factors which are essential to support quality of life, including: the remoteness of some communities; lack of adequate housing; poor infrastructure; lack of functioning health and home hygiene hardware; lack of access to tradespeople and repairs and the cost of maintenance. The physical and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and especially of children, can be enhanced by reducing the rates and spread of diseases that are commonly linked to environmental causes.