Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMC Public Health. 2009 Sep 18;9:346. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-346.

A case study of physical and social barriers to hygiene and child growth in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

Author information

  • 1Menzies School of Health Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia.



Despite Australia's wealth, poor growth is common among Aboriginal children living in remote communities. An important underlying factor for poor growth is the unhygienic state of the living environment in these communities. This study explores the physical and social barriers to achieving safe levels of hygiene for these children.


A mixed qualitative and quantitative approach included a community level cross-sectional housing infrastructure survey, focus groups, case studies and key informant interviews in one community.


We found that a combination of crowding, non-functioning essential housing infrastructure and poor standards of personal and domestic hygiene underlie the high burden of infection experienced by children in this remote community.


There is a need to address policy and the management of infrastructure, as well as key parenting and childcare practices that allow the high burden of infection among children to persist. The common characteristics of many remote Aboriginal communities in Australia suggest that these findings may be more widely applicable.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk