Indigenous children and young people more likely to be hospitalised due to injury

Indigenous children and young people are over one and a half times more likely to have injuries that required hospitalisation when compared to other Australians in the same age-range, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has shown.

The report, Hospitalised injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people 2011‒13 shows that the largest difference was at 18-24 years, where Indigenous young people's rate of injury was almost 4,000 cases per 100,000 compared with 2,280 for other Australians.

The highest rates were in Indigenous children living in Remote and Very Remote areas.

'In Remote and Very Remote areas over half (51%) of the children and young people hospitalised due to injury were Indigenous despite making up just 36% of the overall population of young people in those two areas,' said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.

In these areas, the highest rate of hospitalised injury occurred in 18-24 year old Indigenous young people (7,327 cases per 100,000 people), while the rate  for other 18-24 year old people living in Remote and Very Remote areas was less than half this rate.

'Rates were higher for Indigenous boys and young men than for girls and young women, with the greatest difference in rates of injury occurring at 10-14 years, where Indigenous boys (2,304 cases per 100,000 people) had rates twice as high as Indigenous girls (1,197),' said Professor Harrison.

The specific causes of injury that were the most frequent for Indigenous children and young people were falls, then assault, transport crashes and intentional self-harm. Falls were also the most frequent cause of injury for other children and young people, followed by transport crashes, assault and intentional self-harm.

The rate of assault injury among Indigenous boys and young men (428 cases per 100,000 people) was almost 4 times higher than that of other Australian males (118), while the rate of assault injury among Indigenous girls and young women (486) was more than 17 times higher than their other Australian counterparts (28).

'Indigenous 18-24 year olds were also nearly twice as likely to be hospitalised with self-harm injuries at 456 cases per 100,000 people, compared with 233 for other Australians,' said Professor Harrison.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.


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