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Data reveals the poor health of the disadvantaged


Tim Dornin


21/01/2020 12:03:50 PM

The gap in the quality of health between the disadvantaged in Australia and those more affluent is continuing to widen, new research has found.

Australian map
The Public Health Information Development Unit at Torrens University in Adelaide has drawn the conclusions after analysing data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

While the number of Australians overweight and obese is the highest on record, the rates of obesity, smoking, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and psychological distress are worst among the disadvantaged.
 
People who are disadvantaged can also expect to die younger.
 
The Public Health Information Development Unit at Torrens University in Adelaide has drawn the conclusions after analysing data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
 
It says its findings also highlight differences between those living in urban centres and those in regional and remote parts of Australia.
 
Releasing the results on Tuesday, unit director Professor John Glover said it was hoped the information would provide more impetus for health policy-makers to address the inequalities across society.
 
‘These public health figures disturbingly reveal, yet again, the poorer health outcomes for people in our community who are most disadvantaged,’ Professor Glover said.
 
‘Although the rates of chronic disease and health risks are estimates, they are based on the best available data and indicate the magnitude of the differences in health status that exist in Australia.’
 
The study looked at health outcomes by location, comparing areas of high socioeconomic advantage with those considered less well off.
 
It found obesity rates in the most advantaged areas of about 24.6%, compared to 38.5% in the most disadvantaged areas.
 
The rates of smoking were also higher in disadvantaged areas – 24.3% compared to 8.5%. The instances of asthma were 13.4% to 10%, and diabetes 7.2% to 3.5%.
 
The rates of cardiovascular disease were similarly higher among the disadvantaged, at 5.5% compared to 4%, while the median age at death was 62 years across lower socioeconomic regions compared to 89 years in the most affluent areas.
 
Those figures were even worse in rural and remote Australia, with South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands reporting a median age at death of just 48 years. 
 
Australian Associated Press
 
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