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 Post subject: Some enouraging news
PostPosted: 21.01.2009, 14:40 
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New figures show improvements in Aboriginal life expectancy
from ABC News

The Northern Territory's Department of Health and Families says the results of a new report on Aboriginal health is encouraging.

The study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found death rates for Indigenous babies in the NT has fallen by 26 per cent since 1997, and life expectancy for Indigenous women has increased to 65.2 years, better than the national average.

But the figures also show that the death rate of Indigenous people in the Northern Territory was 2.5 times greater than the death rate of non-Indigenous residents between 2002 and 2006, with the average age for men at 57.6 years, nearly two years lower than the national average.

The department's Shane Houston says cutting drinking and smoking rates would make a big difference.

"Most Aboriginal people, just over 51 per cent of Aboriginal people, were teetotal [but] those Aboriginal people that did drink, drank at very high levels, dangerous levels, very risky levels.

"And the level of smoking in Aboriginal communities, it's still much higher than rates of smoking in non-Aboriginal communities."

Professor Houston also says better management of chronic disease could add years to Aboriginal life expectancy.

The report also found the number of avoidable deaths among Indigenous people in the Northern Territory has fallen between 1991 and 2006.


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