Social and emotional well-being is an important component of overall health. In the Indigenous Australian context, risk indicators of poor social and emotional well-being include social determinants such as poor education, employment, income and housing as well as substance use, racial discrimination and cultural knowledge. This study sought to investigate associations between oral health-related factors and social and emotional well-being in a birth cohort of young Aboriginal adults residing in the northern region of Australia's Northern Territory.
Data were collected on five validated domains of social and emotional well-being: anxiety, resilience, depression, suicide and overall mental health. Independent variables included socio-demographics, dental health behaviour, dental disease experience, oral health-related quality of life, substance use, racial discrimination and cultural knowledge.
After adjusting for other covariates, poor oral health-related items were associated with each of the social and emotional well-being domains. Specifically, anxiety was associated with being female, having one or more decayed teeth and racial discrimination. Resilience was associated with being male, having a job, owning a toothbrush, having one or more filled teeth and knowing a lot about Indigenous culture; while being female, having experienced dental pain in the past year, use of alcohol, use of marijuana and racial discrimination were associated with depression. Suicide was associated with being female, having experience of untreated dental decay and racial discrimination; while being female, having experience of dental disease in one or more teeth, being dissatisfied about dental appearance and racial discrimination were associated with poor mental health.
The results suggest there may be value in including oral health-related initiatives when exploring the role of physical conditions on Indigenous social and emotional well-being.
A prospective Aboriginal Birth Cohort (ABC) study has been underway in Australia's Northern Territory since 1987. Inclusion of oral epidemiological information in a follow-up study required flexible and novel approaches with unconventional techniques. Documenting these procedures may be of value to researchers interested in including oral health components in remotely-located studies. The objectives are to compare and describe dental data collection methods in wave III of the ABC study with a more conventional oral health investigation.
The Australian National Survey of Adult Oral Health (NSAOH) was considered the 'conventional' study. Differences between this investigation and the dental component of the ABC study were assessed in terms of ethics, location, recruitment, consent, privacy, equipment, examination, clinical data collection and replication. In the ABC study, recording of clinical data by different voice recording techniques were described and assessed for ease-of-use portability, reliability, time-efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Conventional investigation recruitment was by post and telephone. Participants self presented. Examinations took place in dental clinics, using customised dental chairs with standard dental lights attached. For all examinations, a dental assistant recorded dental data directly onto a laptop computer. By contrast, follow-up of ABC study participants involved a multi-phase protocol with reliance on locally-employed Indigenous advocates bringing participants to the examination point. Dental examinations occurred in settings ranging from health centre clinic rooms to improvised spaces outdoors. The dental chair was a lightweight, portable reclining camp chair and the dental light a fire-fighter's head torch with rechargeable batteries. The digital voice recorder was considered the most suitable instrument for clinical dental data collection in the ABC study in comparison with computer-based voice-recording software.
Oral health examinations among indigenous populations residing in predominantly remote locations are more logistically challenging than are surveys of the general population. However, lack of resources or conventional clinical infrastructures need not compromise the collection of dental data in such studies. Instead, there is a need to be flexible and creative in establishing culturally-sensitive environments with available resources, and to consider non-conventional approaches to data gathering.
Aboriginal Australian children experience profound oral health disparities relative to their non-Aboriginal counterparts. In response to community concerns regarding Aboriginal child oral health in the regional town of Port Augusta, South Australia, a child dental health service was established within a Community Controlled Aboriginal Health Service. A partnership approach was employed with the key aims of (1) quantifying rates of dental service utilisation, (2) identifying factors influencing participation, and (3) planning and establishing a program for delivery of Aboriginal children's dental services that would increase participation and adapt to community needs. In planning the program, levels of participation were quantified and key issues identified through semistructured interviews. After 3.5 years, the participation rate for dental care among the target population increased from 53 to 70 percent. Key areas were identified to encourage further improvements and ensure sustainability in Aboriginal child oral health in this regional location.
Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is a widespread problem in Australian Aboriginal communities causing severe pain and sepsis. In addition dental services are difficult to access for many Aboriginal children and trying to obtain care can be stressful for the parents. The control of dental caries has been identified as a key indictor in the reduction of Indigenous disadvantage. Thus, there is a need for new approaches to prevent ECC, which reflect the cultural norms of Aboriginal communities.
This is a Phase II single arm trial designed to gather information on the effectiveness of a dental health education program for Aboriginal children aged 6 months, followed over 2 years. The program will deliver advice from Aboriginal Health Workers on tooth brushing, diet and the use of fluoride toothpaste to Aboriginal families. Six waves of data collection will be conducted to enable estimates of change in parental knowledge and their views on the acceptability of the program. The Aboriginal Health Workers will also be interviewed to record their views on the acceptability and program feasibility. Clinical data on the child participants will be recorded when they are 30 months old and compared with a reference population of similar children when the study began. Latent variable modeling will be used to interpret the intervention effects on disease outcome.
The research project will identify barriers to the implementation of a family centered Aboriginal oral health strategy, as well as the development of evidence to assist in the planning of a Phase III cluster randomized study.
Oral health; Aboriginal families; Health promotion
Indigenous Australians suffer substantially poorer oral health than their non-Indigenous counterparts and new approaches are needed to address these disparities. Previous work in Port Augusta, South Australia, a regional town with a large Indigenous community, revealed associations between low oral health literacy scores and self-reported oral health outcomes. This study aims to determine if implementation of a functional, context-specific oral health literacy intervention improves oral health literacy-related outcomes measured by use of dental services, and assessment of oral health knowledge, oral health self-care and oral health- related self-efficacy.
This is a randomised controlled trial (RCT) that utilises a delayed intervention design. Participants are Indigenous adults, aged 18 years and older, who plan to reside in Port Augusta or a nearby community for the next two years. The intervention group will receive the intervention from the outset of the study while the control group will be offered the intervention 12 months following their enrolment in the study. The intervention consists of a series of five culturally sensitive, oral health education workshops delivered over a 12 month period by Indigenous project officers. Workshops consist of presentations, hands-on activities, interactive displays, group discussions and role plays. The themes addressed in the workshops are underpinned by oral health literacy concepts, and incorporate oral health-related self-efficacy, oral health-related fatalism, oral health knowledge, access to dental care and rights and entitlements as a patient. Data will be collected through a self-report questionnaire at baseline, at 12 months and at 24 months. The primary outcome measure is oral health literacy. Secondary outcome measures include oral health knowledge, oral health self-care, use of dental services, oral health-related self-efficacy and oral health-related fatalism.
This study uses a functional, context-specific oral health literacy intervention to improve oral health literacy-related outcomes amongst rural-dwelling Indigenous adults. Outcomes of this study will have implications for policy and planning by providing evidence for the effectiveness of such interventions as well as provide a model for working with Indigenous communities.
Limited information on oral health status for young adults aged 18 year-olds is known, and no available data exists in Hong Kong. The aims of this study were to investigate the oral health status and its risk indicators among young adults in Hong Kong using negative binomial regression.
A survey was conducted in a representative sample of Hong Kong young adults aged 18 years. Clinical examinations were taken to assess oral health status using DMFT index and Community Periodontal Index (CPI) according to WHO criteria. Negative binomial regressions for DMFT score and the number of sextants with healthy gums were performed to identify the risk indicators of oral health status.
A total of 324 young adults were examined. Prevalence of dental caries experience among the subjects was 59% and the overall mean DMFT score was 1.4. Most subjects (95%) had a score of 2 as their highest CPI score. Negative binomial regression analyses revealed that subjects who had a dental visit within 3 years had significantly higher DMFT scores (IRR = 1.68, p < 0.001). Subjects who brushed their teeth more frequently (IRR = 1.93, p < 0.001) and those with better dental knowledge (IRR = 1.09, p = 0.002) had significantly more sextants with healthy gums.
Dental caries experience of the young adults aged 18 years in Hong Kong was not high but their periodontal condition was unsatisfactory. Their oral health status was related to their dental visit behavior, oral hygiene habit, and oral health knowledge.
Dental caries; Periodontal disease; Negative binomial regression
Low back pain (LBP) is the most prevalent musculo-skeletal condition in rural and remote Australian Aboriginal communities. Smoking, physical inactivity and obesity are also prevalent amongst Indigenous people contributing to lifestyle diseases and concurrently to the high burden of low back pain.
This paper aims to examine the association between LBP and modifiable risk factors in a large rural Indigenous community as a basis for informing a musculo-skeletal and related health promotion program.
A community Advisory Group (CAG) comprising Elders, Aboriginal Health Workers, academics, nurses, a general practitioner and chiropractors assisted in the development of measures to assess self-reported musculo-skeletal conditions including LBP risk factors. The Kempsey survey included a community-based survey administered by Aboriginal Health Workers followed by a clinical assessment conducted by chiropractors.
Age and gender characteristics of this Indigenous sample (n = 189) were comparable to those reported in previous Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) studies of the broader Indigenous population. A history of traumatic events was highly prevalent in the community, as were occupational risk factors. Thirty-four percent of participants reported a previous history of LBP. Sporting injuries were associated with multiple musculo-skeletal conditions, including LBP. Those reporting high levels of pain were often overweight or obese and obesity was associated with self-reported low back strain. Common barriers to medical management of LBP included an attitude of being able to cope with pain, poor health, and the lack of affordable and appropriate health care services.
Though many of the modifiable risk factors known to be associated with LBP were highly prevalent in this study, none of these were statistically associated with LBP.
Addressing particular modifiable risk factors associated with LBP such as smoking, physical inactivity and obesity may also present a wider opportunity to prevent and manage the high burden of illness imposed by co-morbidities such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
Low back pain; risk factors; chiropractic; general health; Australian; Aboriginal; Indigenous
Indigenous Australians experience an overwhelming burden of chronic disease, including cardiovascular diseases. Periodontal disease (inflammation of the tissues surrounding teeth) is also widespread, and may contribute to the risk of cardiovascular diseases via pathogenic inflammatory pathways. This study will assess measures of vascular health and inflammation in Indigenous Australian adults with periodontal disease, and determine if intensive periodontal therapy improves these measures over a 12 month follow-up. The aims of the study are: (i) to determine whether there is a dose response relationship between extent and severity of periodontal disease and measures of vascular health and inflammation among Indigenous Australian adults with moderate to severe periodontal disease; and (ii) to determine the effects of periodontal treatment on changes in measures of vascular health and inflammation in a cohort of Indigenous Australians.
This study will be a randomised, controlled trial, with predominantly blinded assessment of outcome measures and blinded statistical analysis. All participants will receive the periodontal intervention benefits (with the intervention delayed 12 months in participants who are randomised to the control arm). Participants will be Indigenous adults aged ≥25 years from urban centres within the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia. Participants assessed to have moderate or severe periodontal disease will be randomised to the study's intervention or control arm. The intervention involves intensive removal of subgingival and supragingival calculus and plaque biofilm by scaling and root-planing. Study visits at baseline, 3 and 12 months, will incorporate questionnaires, non-fasting blood and urine samples, body measurements, blood pressure, periodontal assessment and non-invasive measures of vascular health (pulse wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness). Primary outcome measures are pulse wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness.
The study will assess the periodontal-cardiovascular disease relationship among Indigenous Australian adults with periodontal disease, and the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at improving periodontal and cardiovascular health. Efforts to understand and improve Indigenous oral health and cardiovascular risk may serve as an important means of reducing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health in Australia.
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN12610000817044
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the single greatest contributor to the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Our objective is to determine if holistic CVD risk assessment, introduced as part of the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adult Health Check (AHC), results in better identification of elevated CVD risk, improved delivery of preventive care for CVD and improvements in the CVD risk profile for Aboriginal adults in a remote community.
Interrupted time series study over six years in a remote primary health care (PHC) service involving Aboriginal adults identified with elevated CVD risk (N = 64). Several process and outcome measures were audited at 6 monthly intervals for three years prior to the AHC (the intervention) and three years following: (i) the proportion of guideline scheduled CVD preventive care services delivered, (ii) mean CVD medications prescribed and dispensed, (iii) mean PHC consultations, (iv) changes in participants' CVD risk factors and estimated absolute CVD risk and (v) mean number of CVD events and iatrogenic events.
Twenty-five percent of AHC participants were identified as having elevated CVD risk. Of these, 84% had not been previously identified during routine care. Following the intervention, there were significant improvements in the recorded delivery of preventive care services for CVD (30% to 53%), and prescription of CVD related medications (28% to 89%) (P < 0.001). Amongst participants there was a 20% relative reduction in estimated absolute CVD risk (P = 0.004) following the intervention. However, there were no significant changes in the mean number of PHC consultations or mean number of CVD events or iatrogenic events.
Holistic CVD risk assessment during an AHC can lead to better and earlier identification of elevated CVD risk, improvement in the recorded delivery of preventive care services for CVD, intensification of treatment for CVD, and improvements in participants' CVD risk profile. Further research is required on strategies to reorient and restructure PHC services to the care of chronic illness for Aboriginal peoples in remote areas for there to be substantial progress in decreasing excess CVD related mortality.
The oral health condition of individuals with special health care needs have been reported in literature to be influenced by various sociodemographic factors, including living conditions and severity of impairment. This study was carried out to determine the oral health status and treatment needs of children and young adults attending a day institution for those with special needs.
This study was carried out as part of an oral health screening program organized by the institution and consent was obtained from parents and guardians before the screening. All information was supplied by the parents during the screening using a questionnaire completed by the dentist. Oral examination was carried out on all consenting subjects in attendance on the days of screening in the school clinic with parents and teachers in attendance, using standard World Health Organisation oral health indices to assess dental caries, oral hygiene status, malocclusion and other oral health parameters.
Fifty-four subjects aged 3–26 years (mean 12.28 ± 6.82 years) and comprising 72.2% males and 27.8% females participated in the study. Over 90% were from parents of high and middle level educational background. Thirty-six (66.7%) were caries free, with a mean dmft score of 0.7 ± 1.77 and mean DMFT score of 0.4 ± 1.44 with no significant difference across gender (p = 0.5) and parents' educational status (p = 0.43). The mean OHI-S of the total population in this study was 1.36 ± 0.16. Females had a mean score of 0.88 ± 1.10 while males had a mean score of 1.55 ± 1.24 with no significant difference (p = 0.6). Twenty-five (46.3%) had good oral hygiene, 17 (31.5%) had fair oral hygiene and 12 (22.2%) had poor oral hygiene, with no significant difference across gender (p = 1.11) and age groups (p = 0.07). Fifteen (27.8%) had gingivitis with no significant difference across age groups (p = 0.17). Forty-five (83.3%) had Angle's class I malocclusion, 6(11.1%) class II and 3 (5.6%) class III. Chronologic enamel hypoplasia was found in 9 (16.7%) of the total population. Up to 53.7% of the total population will require oral prophylaxis, 33.3% required restorations on their posterior teeth and 12.9% required veneers for labial facing of hypoplastic enamel.
The subjects in this study had a high prevalence of dental caries and need for restorative care. They would benefit from parental education on diet modification, improvement of oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits.
Rampant tooth decay has been reported among methamphetamine users. We investigated the prevalence of dental disease and associated risk behaviors in methamphetamine users compared to heroin users.
This pilot project is a cross-sectional study of an on-going cohort of young adult injection-drug users (IDUs) in San Francisco. An oral health questionnaire was administered by a research-assistant, and two dentists performed clinical examinations to record the Decayed-Missing-Filled-Surfaces (DMFS) index, presence of residual roots, the Simplified Oral Hygiene Index, and salivary hypofunction.
The prevalence of dental disease among 58 young adult IDUs was strikingly high compared to the U.S. general population, however, there was no difference in the level of dental disease between the methamphetamine and heroin users in this study. The mean DMFS and number of decayed surfaces exceeded 28 in both groups.
While no difference in dental disease between methamphetamine and heroin users was detected, we found a high prevalence of caries and caries-associated behaviors in this sample of young adult IDUs.
Given the high level of dental disease observed in this population of young adult IDUs, one next step may be to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of providing low-intensity preventative measures (e.g., distribution of chlorhexidine rinses, xylitol gum, application of fluoride varnishes) through outreach workers.
Caries; drug abuse; oral health
To determine oral health literacy (REALD-30) and oral health literacy-related outcome associations, and to calculate if oral health literacy-related outcomes are risk indicators for poor self-reported oral health among rural-dwelling Indigenous Australians.
468 participants (aged 17-72 years, 63% female) completed a self-report questionnaire. REALD-30 and oral health literacy-related outcome associations were determined through bivariate analysis. Multivariate modelling was used to calculate risk indicators for poor self-reported oral health.
REALD-30 scores were lower among those who believed teeth should be infrequently brushed, believed cordial was good for teeth, did not own a toothbrush or owned a toothbrush but brushed irregularly. Tooth removal risk indicators included being older, problem-based dental attendance and believing cordial was good for teeth. Poor self-rated oral health risk indicators included being older, healthcare card ownership, difficulty paying dental bills, problem-based dental attendance, believing teeth should be brushed infrequently and irregular brushing. Perceived need for dental care risk indicators included being female and problem-based dental attendance. Perceived gum disease risk indicators included being older and irregular brushing. Feeling uncomfortable about oro-facial appearance risk indicators included problem-based dental attendance and irregular brushing. Food avoidance risk indicators were being female, difficulty paying dental bills, problem-based dental attendance and irregular brushing. Poor oral health-related quality of life risk indicators included difficulty paying dental bills and problem-based dental attendance.
REALD-30 was significantly associated with oral health literacy-related outcomes. Oral health literacy-related outcomes were risk indicators for each of the poor self-reported oral health domains among this marginalised population.
As with many Indigenous peoples, smoking rates among Aboriginal Australians are considerably higher than those of the non-Indigenous population. Approximately 50% of Indigenous women smoke during pregnancy, a time when women are more motivated to quit. Antenatal care providers are potentially important change agents for reducing the harms associated with smoking, yet little is known about their knowledge, attitudes or skills, or the factors associated with providing smoking cessation advice.
This paper aimed to explore the knowledge and attitudes of health care providers caring for pregnant Australian Aboriginal women with regard to smoking risks and cessation; and to identify factors associated with self-reported assessment of smoking. A cross-sectional survey was undertaken with 127 staff providing antenatal care to Aboriginal women from two jurisdictions: the Northern Territory and New South Wales, Australia. Measures included respondents' estimate of the prevalence of smoking among pregnant women; optimal and actual assessment of smoking status; knowledge of risks associated with antenatal smoking; knowledge of smoking cessation; attitudes to providing cessation advice to pregnant women; and perceived barriers and motivators for cessation for pregnant women.
The median provider estimate of the smoking prevalence was 69% (95%CI: 60,70). The majority of respondents considered assessment of smoking status to be integral to antenatal care and a professional responsibility. Most (79%) indicated that they assess smoking status in 100% of clients. Knowledge of risks was generally good, but knowledge of cessation was poor. Factors independently associated with assessing smoking status among all women were: employer service type (p = 0.025); cessation knowledge score (p = 0.011); and disagreeing with the statement that giving advice is not worth it given the low level of success (p = 0.011).
Addressing knowledge of smoking risks and cessation counselling is a priority and should improve both confidence and ability, and increase the frequency and effectiveness of counselling. The health system must provide supports to providers through appropriate policy and resourcing, to enable them to address this issue.
Compared to other Australian women, Indigenous women are frequently at greater risk for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. We examined pre-pregnancy factors that may predict hypertension in pregnancy in a cohort of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in north Queensland.
Data on a cohort of 1009 Indigenous women of childbearing age (15–44 years) who participated in a 1998–2000 health screening program in north Queensland were combined with 1998–2008 Queensland hospitalisations data using probabilistic data linkage. Data on the women in the cohort who were hospitalised for birth (n = 220) were further combined with Queensland perinatal data which identified those diagnosed with hypertension in pregnancy.
Of 220 women who gave birth, 22 had hypertension in the pregnancy after their health check. The mean age of women with and without hypertension was similar (23.7 years and 23.9 years respectively) however Aboriginal women were more affected compared to Torres Strait Islanders. Pre-pregnancy adiposity and elevated blood pressure at the health screening program were predictors of a pregnancy affected by hypertension. After adjusting for age and ethnicity, each 1 cm increase in waist circumference showed a 4% increased risk for hypertension in pregnancy (PR 1.04; 95% CI; 1.02-1.06); each 1 point increase in BMI showed a 9% adjusted increase in risk (1.09; 1.04-1.14). For each 1 mmHg increase in baseline systolic blood pressure there was an age and ethnicity adjusted 6% increase in risk and each 1 mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure showed a 7% increase in risk (1.06; 1.03-1.09 and 1.07; 1.03-1.11 respectively). Among those free of diabetes at baseline, the presence of the metabolic syndrome (International Diabetes Federation criteria) predicted over a three-fold increase in age-ethnicity-adjusted risk (3.5; 1.50-8.17).
Pre-pregnancy adiposity and features of the metabolic syndrome among these young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women track strongly to increased risk of hypertension in pregnancy with associated risks to the health of babies.
Indigenous; Pre-pregnancy; Hypertension; Preeclampsia
Health Assessment (HA) items were introduced in 1999 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged at least 55 years and all Australians aged over 75 years. In 2004 a new item was introduced for HAs among adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–54 years. The new item has been applauded as a major policy innovation however this enthusiasm has been tempered with concern about potential barriers to its uptake. In this study we aim to determine whether there are disparities in uptake of HA items for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to other Australians.
The analysis was based on Health Insurance Commission data. Indigenous status was ascertained based on the item number used. Logistic regression was used to compare uptake of HA items for older people among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to other Australians. Adjustments were made for dual eligibility. Uptake of the HA items for older people was compared to the uptake of the new item for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–44 years.
Our analyses suggest a significant and persistent disparity in the uptake of items for older patients among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to other Australians. A similar disparity appears to exist in the uptake of the new adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HA item.
Further engagement of primary care providers and the community around the uptake of the new HA items may be required to ensure that the anticipated health benefits eventuate.
The burden of mental health problems among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is a major public health problem in Australia. While socioeconomic factors are implicated as important determinants of mental health problems in mainstream populations, their bearing on the mental health of Indigenous Australians remains largely uncharted across all age groups.
We examined the relationship between the risk of clinically significant emotional or behavioural difficulties (CSEBD) and a range of socioeconomic measures for 3993 Indigenous children aged 4–17 years in Western Australia, using a representative survey conducted in 2000–02. Analysis was conducted using multivariate logistic regression within a multilevel framework.
Almost one quarter (24%) of Indigenous children were classified as being at high risk of CSEBD. Our findings generally indicate that higher socioeconomic status is associated with a reduced risk of mental health problems in Indigenous children. Housing quality and tenure and neighbourhood-level disadvantage all have a strong direct effect on child mental health. Further, the circumstances of families with Indigenous children (parenting quality, stress, family composition, overcrowding, household mobility, racism and family functioning) emerged as an important explanatory mechanism underpinning the relationship between child mental health and measures of material wellbeing such as carer employment status and family financial circumstances.
Our results provide incremental evidence of a social gradient in the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Improving the social, economic and psychological conditions of families with Indigenous children has considerable potential to reduce the mental health inequalities within Indigenous populations and, in turn, to close the substantial racial gap in mental health. Interventions that target housing quality, home ownership and neighbourhood-level disadvantage are likely to be particularly beneficial.
Socioeconomic; Social disparities; Social gradient; Aboriginal; Mental health; Indigenous; Inequality; Australia
Aboriginal Australians suffer from poorer overall health compared to the general Australian population, particularly in terms of cardiovascular disease and prognosis following a cardiac event. Despite such disparities, Aboriginal Australians utilise health care services at much lower rates than the general population. Improving health care utilisation (HCU) among Aboriginal cardiac patients requires a better understanding of the factors that constrain or facilitate use. The study aimed to identify ecological factors influencing health care utilisation (HCU) for Aboriginal cardiac patients, from the time of their cardiac event to 6–12 months post-event, in central Australia.
This qualitative descriptive study was guided by an ecological framework. A culturally-sensitive illness narrative focusing on Aboriginal cardiac patients’ “typical” journey guided focus groups and semi-structured interviews with Aboriginal cardiac patients, non-cardiac community members, health care providers and community researchers. Analysis utilised a thematic conceptual matrix and mixed coding method. Themes were categorised into Predisposing, Enabling, Need and Reinforcing factors and identified at Individual, Interpersonal, Primary Care and Hospital System levels.
Compelling barriers to HCU identified at the Primary Care and Hospital System levels included communication, organisation and racism. Individual level factors related to HCU included language, knowledge of illness, perceived need and past experiences. Given these individual and health system barriers patients were reliant on utilising alternate family-level supports at the Interpersonal level to enable their journey.
Aboriginal cardiac patients face significant barriers to HCU, resulting in sub-optimal quality of care, placing them at risk for subsequent cardiovascular events and negative health outcomes. To facilitate HCU amongst Aboriginal people, strategies must be implemented to improve communication on all levels and reduce systemic barriers operating within the health system.
Health care utilisation; Facilitators/barriers to care; Cardiovascular disease; Indigenous; Aboriginal
Early onset and high prevalence of chronic disease among Indigenous Australians call for action on prevention. However, there is deficiency of information on the extent to which preventive services are delivered in Indigenous communities. This study examined the variation in quality of preventive care for well adults attending Indigenous community health centres in Australia.
During 2005-2009, clinical audits were conducted on a random sample (stratified by age and sex) of records of adults with no known chronic disease in 62 Indigenous community health centres in four Australian States/Territories (sample size 1839). Main outcome measures: i) adherence to delivery of guideline-scheduled services within the previous 24 months, including basic measurements, laboratory investigations, oral health checks, and brief intervention on lifestyle modification; and ii) follow-up of abnormal findings.
Overall delivery of guideline-scheduled preventive services varied widely between health centres (range 5-74%). Documentation of abnormal blood pressure reading ([greater than or equal to]140/90 mmHg), proteinuria and abnormal blood glucose ([greater than or equal to]5.5 mmol/L) was found to range between 0 and > 90% at the health centre level. A similarly wide range was found between health centres for documented follow up check/test or management plan for people documented to have an abnormal clinical finding. Health centre level characteristics explained 13-47% of variation in documented preventive care, and the remaining variation was explained by client level characteristics.
There is substantial room to improve preventive care for well adults in Indigenous primary care settings. Understanding of health centre and client level factors affecting variation in the care should assist clinicians, managers and policy makers to develop strategies to improve quality of preventive care in Indigenous communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have a higher prevalence and incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes than non-Indigenous Australian women. Physical inactivity is a key modifiable risk factor for obesity and evidence shows that even modest reductions in waist circumference (WC) have significant health benefits. Trialing physical activity programs in difficult-to-reach high risk groups, especially urban Indigenous Australians poses distinct implementation challenges.
The trial objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of a structured 12-week physical activity group program with nutritional advice. The design is a pragmatic randomised controlled trial. This study protocol describes the implementation and evaluation of the program. Participants are randomised into either an intervention or waitlisted group. The waitlisted group have a 12 month waiting period before commencing the 12-week program. Participant data is collected at baseline, 12, 24 and 52 weeks. Participants are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, aged 18-64 years with a waist circumference greater than 80 centimetres residing in Adelaide. The primary outcome measure is WC change immediately post program from baseline. Secondary outcomes include short term and long term changes in WC, weight, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, insulin, insulin resistance (calculated HOMA), haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), triglycerides and C-reactive protein (CRP). Behavioural and psychosocial surveys are administered to assess physical activity, dietary intake and the participant's motivation, self-efficacy and perceived social support for physical activity. Qualitative interviews focusing on participants' motivation, enablers and barriers to healthy eating and physical activity will be undertaken. Implementation fidelity and participation are also assessed.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Fitness Program (WFP) is designed to provide a rigorous physiological and client-based evaluation of a structured 12-week program aimed to increase metabolic fitness and reduce WC in this high risk population. Evaluation results aim to provide the support necessary to design programs that are accessible, affordable and effective at reducing WC, while also improving the metabolic profile of overweight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000224022
Achieving culturally fair assessments of cognitive functioning for Aboriginal people is difficult due to a scarcity of appropriately validated tools for use with this group. As a result, some Aboriginal people with cognitive impairments may lack fair and equitable access to services. The objective of this study was to examine current clinical practice in the Northern Territory regarding cognitive assessment for Aboriginal people thereby providing some guidance for clinicians new to this practice setting.
Qualitative enquiry was used to describe practice context, reasons for assessment, and current practices in assessing cognition for Aboriginal Australians. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 clinicians working with Aboriginal clients in central and northern Australia. Results pertaining to assessment methods are reported.
A range of standardised tests were utilised with little consistency across clinical practice. Nevertheless, it was recognised that such tests bear severe limitations, requiring some modification and significant caution in their interpretation. Clinicians relied heavily on informal assessment or observations, contextual information and clinical judgement.
Cognitive tests developed specifically for Aboriginal people are urgently needed. In the absence of appropriate, validated tests, clinicians have relied on and modified a range of standardised and informal assessments, whilst recognising the severe limitations of these. Past clinical training has not prepared clinicians adequately for assessing Aboriginal clients, and experience and clinical judgment were considered crucial for fair interpretation of test scores. Interpretation guidelines may assist inexperienced clinicians to consider whether they are achieving fair assessments of cognition for Aboriginal clients.
Cognition; Assessment; Cross-cultural; Testing; Indigenous; Aboriginal
Aboriginal people living in Canada have a high prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). To better understand the pre and postnatal influences on the development of adiposity and related cardio-metabolic factors in adult Aboriginal people, we will recruit and follow prospectively Aboriginal pregnant mothers and their children – the Aboriginal Birth Cohort (ABC) study.
We aim to recruit 300 Aboriginal pregnant mothers and their newborns from the Six Nations Reserve, and follow them prospectively to age 3 years. Key details of environment and health including maternal nutrition, glucose tolerance, physical activity, and weight gain will be collected. At birth, cord blood and placenta samples will be collected, as well as newborn anthropometric measurements. Mothers and offspring will be followed annually with serial measurements of diet and physical activity, growth trajectory, and adiposity.
There is an urgent need to understand maternal and child factors that underlie the early development of adiposity and type 2 diabetes in Aboriginal people. The information generated from this cohort will assist the Six Nations community in developing interventions to prevent early adiposity in Aboriginal children.
Aboriginal; Birth cohort; Early origins; Adiposity
The long-term effects of poor maternal oral health are unknown. We determined whether maternal oral health when children were young was a risk indicator for caries experience in adulthood, using oral examination and interview data from age-5 and age-32 assessments in the Dunedin Study, and maternal self-rated oral health data from the age-5 assessment. The main outcome measure was probands’ caries status at age 32. Analyses involved 835 individuals (82.3% of the surviving cohort) dentally examined at both ages, whose mothers were interviewed at the age-5 assessment. There was a consistent gradient in age-32 caries experience across the categories of maternal self-rated oral health status (from the age-5 assessment): it was greatest among the probands whose mothers rated their oral health as “poor” or who were edentulous, and lowest among those whose mothers rated their oral health as “excellent”. Unfavorable maternal self-rated oral health when children are young should be regarded as a risk indicator for poor oral health among offspring as they reach adulthood.
oral health; intergenerational; life-course; risk; family history
OBJECTIVE--To investigate a reported association between dental disease and risk of coronary heart disease. SETTING--National sample of American adults who participated in a health examination survey in the early 1970s. DESIGN--Prospective cohort study in which participants underwent a standard dental examination at baseline and were followed up to 1987. Proportional hazards analysis was used to estimate relative risks adjusted for several covariates. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Incidence of mortality or admission to hospital because of coronary heart disease; total mortality. RESULTS--Among all 9760 subjects included in the analysis those with periodontitis had a 25% increased risk of coronary heart disease relative to those with minimal periodontal disease. Poor oral hygiene, determined by the extent of dental debris and calculus, was also associated with an increased incidence of coronary heart disease. In men younger than 50 years at baseline periodontal disease was a stronger risk factor for coronary heart disease; men with periodontitis had a relative risk of 1.72. Both periodontal disease and poor oral hygiene showed stronger associations with total mortality than with coronary heart disease. CONCLUSION--Dental disease is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, particularly in young men. Whether this is a causal association is unclear. Dental health may be a more general indicator of personal hygiene and possibly health care practices.
Human rhinovirus (HRV) species C (HRV-C) have been associated with frequent and severe acute lower respiratory infections and asthma in hospitalized children. The prevalence of HRV-C among healthy children and whether this varies with ethnicity is unknown.
to describe the prevalence of HRV species and their associations with demographic, environmental and socioeconomic factors in healthy aboriginal and non-aboriginal children.
respiratory viruses and bacteria were identified in 1006 nasopharyngeal aspirates collected from a cohort of 79 aboriginal and 88 non-aboriginal Western Australian children before 2 years of age. HRV-positive nasopharyngeal aspirates were typed for HRV species and genotypes. Longitudinal growth models incorporating generalized estimating equations were used to investigate associations between HRV species and potential risk factors.
Of the 159 typed specimens, we identified 83 (52.2%) human rhinovirus species a (HrV-A), 26 (16.4%), human rhinovirus species B and 50 (31.4%) HrV-C. HRV-C was associated with upper respiratory symptoms in aboriginal (odds ratio, 3.77; 95% confidence interval:1.05–13.55) and non-aboriginal children (odds ratio, 5.85; 95% confidence interval: 2.33–14.66). HRV-A and HRV-C were associated with carriage of respiratory bacteria. In aboriginal children, HRV-A was more common in the summer and in those whose mothers were employed prior to delivery. In non-aboriginal children, day-care attendance and exclusive breast-feeding at age 6–8 weeks were associated with detection of HRV-A, and gestational smoking with detection of HRV-C.
Factors associated with the presence of HRV differ between aboriginal and non-aboriginal children. In contrast to HRV-A, HRV-C is associated with upper respiratory symptoms suggesting that HRV-C is likely to be implicated in respiratory illness.
human rhinovirus; aboriginal; bacterial association; environmental risk factors; upper respiratory symptoms; seasonality
Indigenous Australians are known to be at greater risk of morbidity and mortality from mental health related conditions, but most available data relate to the use of mental health services, and little is known about other aspects of social and emotional wellbeing. Using the first available nationally representative data, we examined the prevalence and patterning of psychological distress among Indigenous Australian adults and compared these with corresponding data from the non-Indigenous population.
The analysis used weighted data on psychological distress, as measured by a modified Kessler Psychological Distress score (K5), and a range of socio-demographic measures for 5,417 Indigenous and 15,432 non-Indigenous adults aged 18-64 years from two nationally representative surveys. Very high psychological distress (VHPD) was defined as a K5 score ≥ 15 (possible range = 5-25).
Indigenous adults were about three times more likely than non-Indigenous adults to be classified with VHPD: 14.5% (95% confidence interval (CI) 12.9-16.0%) versus 5.5% (95% CI 5.0-5.9%). After adjusting for age, most socio-demographic variables were significantly associated with VHPD in both populations, although the relative odds were generally larger among non-Indigenous people. Indigenous people in remote areas had a lower prevalence of VHPD than their non-remote counterparts, and only marital status, main language, and food insecurity were significantly associated with VHPD in remote areas.
Higher absolute levels of VHPD combined with smaller socio-demographic gradients in the Indigenous population suggest the importance of risk factors such as interpersonal racism, marginalization and dispossession, chronic stress and exposure to violence that are experienced by Indigenous Australians with common and/or cross-cutting effects across the socioeconomic spectrum. The lower prevalence of VHPD and lack of association with many socio-demographic variables in remote areas suggests either that the instrument may be less valid for Indigenous people living in remote areas or that living in an Indigenous majority environment (such as exists in most remote communities) may mitigate the risk of psychological distress to some degree.