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Focuses on State-wide social and health status indicators for South Australian Aborigines.
Overall, the mortality of Aborigines living in South Australia is about three times that of the total Australian population. The major cause of Aboriginal deaths is disease of the circulatory system, including heart disease, with injuries and diseases of the respiratory system also making major contributions to the excess mortality experienced by Aborigines.
The greatest difference between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal death rates is found among young and middle aged adults. The net result of the excess mortality experienced by Aborigines is that the expectation of life at birth of Aborigines is much less that that of all South Australians, around 19 years for males, and at least 13 years for females.
The mortality of Aboriginal infants in South Australia is around twice that of other South Australian infants, and appears comparable to that of Aboriginal infants from the Queensland Aboriginal communities and Western Australia. Perinatal mortality is probably more than three times that of other Australians.
The rates of hospitalisation of Aborigines are about 2.5 times those of other South Australians and, as with death rates, the greatest difference between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rates is found among young and middle aged adults.
The magnitude of the health problems experienced by Aborigines in South Australia clearly justifies the South Australian Health Commission's conclusion that Aboriginal ill-health is a leading priority for action.
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