An much more extensive history of the Aboriginal people of Australia is found elsewhere.
Aboriginal Australians have disproportionately high rates of severe physical disability, as much as three times that of non-Aboriginal Australians, possibly due to higher rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease.
In a study comparing Aboriginal Australians to non-Aboriginal Australians, obesity and smoking rates were higher among Aboriginals, which are contributing factors or causes of serious health issues. The study also showed that Aboriginal Australians were more likely to self-report their health as “excellent/very good” in spite of extant severe physical limitations.
In January 2017, The Lancet described the suicide rate among Aboriginal Australians as a “catastrophic crisis”:
In 2015, more than 150 Indigenous people died by suicide, the highest figure ever recorded nationally and double the rate of non-Indigenous people, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Additionally, Indigenous children make up one in three child suicides despite making up a minuscule percentage of the population. Moreover, in parts of the country such as Kimberley, WA, suicide rates among Indigenous people are among the highest in the world.
The report advocates Aboriginal-led national response to the crisis, asserting that suicide prevention programs have failed this segment of the population. The ex-prisoner population of Australian Aboriginals is particularly at risk of committing suicide; organisations such as Ngalla Maya have been set up to offer assistance.
Another study examining the psycho-social functioning of high-risk-exposed and low-risk-exposed Aboriginal Australians aged 12–17 found that in high-risk youths, personal well-being was protected by a sense of solidarity and common low socioeconomic status. However, in low-risk youths, perceptions of racism caused poor psycho-social functioning. The researchers suggested that factors such as racism, discrimination and alienation contributed to physiological health risks in ethnic minority families. The study also mentioned the effect of poverty on Aboriginal populations: higher morbidity and mortality rates.
One study reports that Aboriginal Australians are significantly affected by infectious diseases, particularly in rural areas. These diseases include strongyloidiasis, hookworm caused by Ancylostoma duodenale, scabies, and streptococcal infections.
Because poverty is also prevalent in Aboriginal populations, the need for medical assistance is even greater in many Aboriginal Australian communities. The researchers suggested the use of mass drug administration (MDA) as a method of combating the diseases found commonly among Aboriginal peoples, while also highlighting the importance of “sanitation, access to clean water, good food, integrated vector control and management, childhood immunizations, and personal and family hygiene”.
Aboriginal Australians suffer from high rates of heart disease. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide and among Aboriginal Australians. Aboriginal people develop atrial fibrillation, a condition that sharply increases the risk of stroke, much earlier than non-Aboriginal Australians on average. The life expectancy for Aboriginal Australians is 10 years lower than non-Aboriginal Australians. Technologies such as the Wireless ambulatory ECG are being developed to screen at-risk individuals, particularly rural Australians, for atrial fibrillation.