Cardiovascular disease risk in young Indigenous Australians: A snapshot of current preventive health care

Bethany Crinall, Jacqueline Boyle, Melanie Gibson-Helm, Danielle Esler, Sarah Larkins, Ross Bailie

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    Objective: To examine preventive health attendance and recording of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors and their management in young Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders (Indigenous Australians) at primary health care centres (PHCs). 

    Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study audited medical records of 1,986 Indigenous people aged 15-34 years attending 93 Australian PHCs. Measurements included blood pressure (BP), blood glucose level (BGL), smoking status, body mass index (BMI) and lipid profile. 

    Results: Last attendance was most commonly for acute care (46%); 12% attended for preventive assessment. BP was recorded in 85% (1,686/1,986), BGL 63% (1,244/1,986), smoking status 52% (1,033/1,986), BMI 37% (743/1,986) and lipids 31% (625/1,986). Of those with a recorded assessment, elevated BGL (39%, 479/1,244), smoking (63%, 649/1,033), overweight/obesity (51%, 381/743) and dyslipidaemia (73%, 458/625) were common. Follow-up of abnormal results was documented for elevated BP 28% (34/120), elevated BGL 17% (79/479), smoking 65% (421/649), overweight/obesity 11% (40/381) and abnormal lipids 16% (75/458). 

    Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of raising awareness and assessment of chronic disease risk factors in young Indigenous people and implementing preventive health care strategies. 

    Implications: Strengthening the capacity of PHCs to provide preventive health care may contribute to reducing the chronic disease burden experienced by young Indigenous people.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)460-466
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


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