Abstract: Background: Living in small, isolated groups may promote health for Aborigines if traditional lifestyles are followed, but overall health risks in such communities are inadequately documented. Aim: To document health status of a remote Aboriginal community with reference to nutrition, cardiovascular risks, renal disease and infections and to identify areas where health might be improved. Methods: All residents of a small community in the Great Sandy Desert underwent medical examinations, anthropometry and measurement of blood pressure. Investigations included cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, creatinine, lipoprotein (a), apolipoprotein E phenotype, angiotensin-converting enzyme genotype, urinalysis, stool microscopy (children), liver function tests and full blood examination. Results: Children (n=26) were undernourished while 14% of adults (n=51) were underweight, 22% overweight and 40% of women and 13% of men were obese with central obesity in 90% of women and 48% of men. Fifteen per cent of the group were hypertensive. Insulin levels were increased in 55% of subjects, total cholesterol in 21% and triglycerides in 56%, while HDL was decreased in 78%. Angiotensin-converting enzyme and apolipoprotein E typing and lipoprotein (a) did not suggest increased cardiovascular risk. Proteinuria was present in 39% of subjects, haematuria in 49% and definite or possible urinary tract infections in 30%. Faecal parasites were prevalent and a history of infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, was common. Conclusions: Increased cardiovascular risk, nutritional disorders, renal disease and infections are major problems in this community which had relocated several years previously from a mission environment closer to western influences, including alcohol.
Gracey, M., Burke, V., Spargo, R. M., Beilin, L. J., Smith, P., Beilby, J., Smith, R. M., Chin, C., 1996, Risk factors for ill-health in a remote desert-dwelling Aboriginal community in Western Australia, Volume:26, Journal Article, viewed 28 November 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=39891.