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Title: Progress in closing the gap in life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, 1967-2012.
Authors: Georges, Nick
Guthridge, Steven L
Li, Shu Qin
Condon, John R
Barnes, Tony
Zhao, Yuejen
Affiliation: Department of Health, Northern Territory Government, Darwin, NT
Department of Health, Northern Territory Government, Darwin, NT..
Department of Health, Northern Territory Government, Darwin, NT..
Department of Health, Northern Territory Government, Darwin, NT..
Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT..
Department of Health, Northern Territory Government, Darwin, NT..
Issue Date: 3-Jul-2017
Citation: The Medical journal of Australia 2017-07-03; 207(1): 25-30
Abstract: To compare long term changes in mortality and life expectancy at birth (LE) of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and of the overall Australian population; to determine the contributions of changes in mortality in specific age groups to changes in LE for each population. Retrospective trend analysis of death and LE data for the NT Aboriginal and Australian populations, 1967-2012. LE estimates based on abridged life tables; mortality estimates (deaths per 100 000 population); and age decomposition of LE changes by sex and time period. Between 1967 and 2012, LE increased for both NT Aboriginal and all Australians; the difference in LE between the two populations declined by 4.6 years for females, but increased by one year for males. Between 1967-1971 and 1980-1984, LE of NT Aboriginal people increased rapidly, particularly through reduced infant mortality; from 1980-1984 to 1994-1998, there was little change; from 1994-1998 to 2008-2012, there were modest gains in older age groups. Decomposition by age group identified the persistent and substantial contribution of the 35-74-year age groups to the difference in LE between NT Aboriginal people and all Australians. Early gains in LE for NT Aboriginal people are consistent with improvements in nutrition, maternal and infant care, and infectious disease control. A rapid epidemiological transition followed, when LE gains in younger age groups plateaued and non-communicable diseases became more prevalent. Recent LE gains, across all adult age groups, are consistent with improved health service access and chronic disease management. If LE is to continue improving, socio-economic disadvantage and its associated risks must be reduced.
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Life expectancy
Longitudinal studies
Population health
Vital statistics
Age Distribution
Aged, 80 and over
Child, Preschool
Chronic Disease
Health Services Accessibility
Infant, Newborn
Life Expectancy
Middle Aged
Northern Territory
Oceanic Ancestry Group
Retrospective Studies
Sex Distribution
Socioeconomic Factors
Young Adult
Appears in Collections:NT Health digital library

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