Report reveals health of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The health and wellbeing of First Australian teenagers and young adults is the focus of a new in brief report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adolescent and Youth Health and Wellbeing 2018 report reveals specific, national data on 10-24 year olds for the first time with the research showing where concerted and targeted efforts by First Nations families, communities, government and health care organisations are getting results.

Some of the positive outcomes highlighted in the report include:

  • Sixty-three per cent of First Australians aged 10–24 assessed their health as either ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’.
  • The number of First Australians aged 15-24 who smoked daily declined from 45 per cent in 2002 to 31 per cent in 2014-15.
  • There was also an increase in young people who never smoked, up from 44 per cent in 2002 to 56 per cent in 2014-15.

The report also raises some of the challenges faced by young First Australians including:

  • 42 per cent were not engaged in education, employment or training
  • Although there has been a decline in smoking rates for young First Australians, one in three people aged between15–24 was still a daily smoker in 2014-15 and 62 per cent of those aged 10-24 had longer-term health challenges such as respiratory or vision problems or mental health conditions.

Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said that clearly there is much work to do to strengthen prevention and early intervention initiatives that will help build strong families and communities.

He said that the data from the report “will inform the Closing the Gap refresh and help us to understand what is working well and where we need to focus our energies, so all young First Australians can reap the benefits of better health and wellbeing”.

ALGA’s federal election document advocates for the well-being and prosperity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.