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Larger fatal burden for Indigenous people

A report released today found that in 2010, Indigenous Australians lost about 100,000 years of life to premature mortality.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report also held the fatal burden for Indigenous Australians was 2.6 times that for non-Indigenous Australians.

Injuries and cardiovascular diseases were the two highest contributors to fatal burden for Indigenous Australians, at 22 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively, followed by cancer at 17 per cent.

The Heart Foundation is calling on the federal government to implement its recommendations to the Senate Select Committee on Health inquiry into policy, administration and expenditure.

“By doing so, we can significantly improve cardiovascular outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," National Heart Foundation chief executive Mary Barry said.  “While the investment in the Close the Gap initiative has [brought] some improvement in the cardiovascular health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, greater gains need to be made.”

The National Heart Foundation spokesperson on tobacco, Maurice Swanson, said a major cause of the life expectancy gap is tobacco use. “The need for a robust, well-funded, and sustained program to drive down the disturbingly high prevalence of smoking among Indigenous Australians is self-evident,” Swanson said.

National Heart Foundation cultural lead Vicki Wade added: “It is unacceptable that my people – my aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters – continue to die from cardiovascular disease at greater rates and at younger ages than other Australians.”

Click below to hear Vicki Wade discuss the National Heart Foundation's current work to close the gap.

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