10th December, 2019

2018 – 19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey outcomes confirm that the ACCHOs smoking cessation programs are working

Alcohol and other drugs

The 2018 – 19 National
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) released today by
the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows a reduction in smoking and
improvements in how people feel about their health, but an increase in many
chronic diseases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The
information from the survey can help inform NACCHO policy but also service
delivery priorities for local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health
Organisations (or ACCHOs).

NACCHO Chair,
Donnella Mills said, “The latest NATSIHS report demonstrates the ACCHO smoking
cessation programs and health promotion activities are working. It is
encouraging to see fewer younger people are taking up smoking in the first
place, with a decrease in people ages 15 years and over who smoked every day,
falling from 41 per cent in 2012 – 13 to 37 per cent in 2018 – 19. 

“The results
unfortunately also show an increase in many chronic diseases for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples, with 46% reporting one or more chronic
condition (up from 40% in 2012-13). Thus, providing more evidence that
additional funding is needed to Close the Gap in health outcomes as chronic
diseases are the major contributors to the mortality gap between Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

Ms Mills added, “It
is positive to see more than four in 10 people rated their health as excellent
or very good, up from 39 per cent in 2012 – 13 to 45 per cent and more than
half of children aged 2-17 years had seen a dentist or dental professional in
the last 12 months.”

The geographic
distribution in 2018-19 of these chronic conditions reveals that Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples living in remote communities have higher rates
of kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease whereas Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples living in non-remote areas have a higher proportion of
disability, asthma and mental health conditions.

The NATSIHS
collects information from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population
as part of the Australian Health Survey. The survey is designed by asking the
same questions at every administration to monitor changes in health conditions
and behaviours over time.

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For
media enquiries contact Marlee Silva on
marlee.silva@coxinallridgeway.com.au or 0431876738.