[Ngo-emwg] Indigenous populations worldwide face chronic disease, mental health, and poverty-related challenges
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 18:24:48 BST 2009
Subject: [procor] Indigenous populations worldwide face chronic disease, mental
health, and poverty-related challenges
Date: Thu, 09 Jul 2009 09:33:11 -0400
From: ProCor <procor at procor.org>
Reply-To: Global Dialogue <procor at list.procor.org>
To: Global Dialogue <procor at list.procor.org>
"In some Indigenous populations rates of lifestyle-related chronic diseases are
increasing by more than 25% per decade. This is looming as an international
public health catastrophe," states a Lancet press release announcing two key
review articles on the health of Indigenous people in the 4 July 2009 issue
(Lancet 2009; 374: 65-85).
Among the world's almost 400 million indigenous people, chronic disease is
increasing as a result of the adoption of more western lifstyles; mental health
issues persist; and malnutrition and poverty contribute to overall poor health.
In 2006, The Lancet published a landmark series highlighting the poor health
status of indigenous populations worldwide. The 4 July 2009 issue provides an
update on the health of indigenous people with two key review articles.
Part 1 examines determinants and disease patterns:
Part 2 explores the underlying causes of the health gap:
Both are open access after free registration and login (www.thelancet.com).
Excerpted from The Lancet's press release:
"Westernisation of Indigenous populations has caused an alarming upsurge in
chronic diseases related to lifestyle factors. High-calorie, high-fat, high-salt
diets, combined with decreasing physical activity and genetic predisposition,
mean that, for example, 40% of all Aboriginal adults in northwest Australia have
diabetes, and this goes to 60% when looking at those aged 35 and over. Some
children become overweight and insulin resistant as early as 5 years old. And
Aboriginal children up to 17 years of age in Western Australia have a diagnosis
rate for diabetes 18 times higher than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Heart
disease and problems related to drug, tobacco, and alcohol use are also
increasing sharply. Alarmingly, in some Indigenous populations rates of
lifestyle-related chronic diseases are increasing by more than 25% per decade.
This is looming as an international public health catastrophe.
"A total of 11 risk factors collectively explained 37% of the Australian
Indigenous disease burden. These were tobacco use, alcohol, drug use, high body
mass, physical inactivity, low intake of fruit and vegetables, high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, unsafe sex, child abuse, and intimate partner abuse.
These factors can all contribute to disease or injuries and violence.
"To illustrate the Indignenous Health Gap, the authors quoted health statistics
of 193 countries. All Australian men aged 15-60 years combined had the seventh
lowest and all Australian women combined had the 12th lowest probability of
dying in 2003. But looking at Indigenous Australians alone, they were down at
131st in the list - below East Timor.
"The authors say: 'The [Australian] Government is now committed to closing this
gap and other forms of long-term disadvantage that Indigenous Australians
have...These gaps will probably not be closed by the target date of 2030 despite
our best efforts and irrespective of various strategies, social and medical,
that have been proposed...Regrettably, inadequate attention seems to have been
given to potential gains that could be achieved through more meaningful
involvement of Indigenous Australians and their communities in this task.'
"The authors propose a range of interventions, across maternal and child health,
nutrition, infectious diseases, and lifestyle diseases to help close the gap,
and conclude: ' Health standards of Indigenous peoples are unacceptably poor,
but there is no need to despair; correction of the present situation needs a
radical reorientation of previous strategies that have been ineffective or
virtually non-existent. Apart from the approaches we propose...also important is
to enable, train, and encourage Indigenous people to take responsibility for
programmes and services that affect their health and for them to work closely
with existing health-care systems. Emphasis on the urgent need for local,
regional, and international statistics about Indigenous health is important to
allow assessment of future trends and usefulness of interventions...At present
most countries have no statistics or only unreliable information about the
health of their indigenous groups. It is virtually impossible to measure
progress over time without adequate data."
Editor in Chief, ProCor
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