In Health

Australian Bureau Of Statistics

ABS Conducting Largest Survey Of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Health

Victor P Taffa

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is currently conducting the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey which will improve our knowledge of the health issues affecting this group of Australians.

This survey will expand on the 2004-05 survey by increasing the number of participants by 30 %, collecting new information on exercise, diet (including bush foods) and measures of cholesterol, blood glucose and iron.

For the first time, the ABS will directly measure obesity and blood pressure levels, as well as nutritional status and chronic disease. By combining the self-reported information together with the biomedical samples, a more complete picture of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be available. Importantly this will give us some information about the level of undiagnosed conditions, such as diabetes.

While the biomedical component of the survey is voluntary, our survey champion Cathy Freeman encourages people to get involved as: ‘you will be helping your family, your community, and future generations to live longer healthier lives’.

The survey will be conducted over 2012-13 across the country in cities and remote communities to create evidence to measure progress in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and contributing to Closing the Gap in life expectancy.

The first survey results will be released in November 2013 and will be used by a wide range of Aboriginal organisations, health researchers, public health advocates, government, clinicians and community health organisations.

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