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Prev Med. 2007 Feb;44(2):135-42. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

Health-related behaviours as predictors of mortality and morbidity in Australian Aborigines.

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University of Western Australia School of Medicine and Pharmacology, Royal Perth Hospital Unit, Box X2213 GPO, Perth 6847, Australia.



To examine predictors of coronary heart disease (CHD) and all-cause mortality in Aboriginal Australians.


In 1988-89, a survey of Western Australian Aborigines (256 women, 258 men) aged 15-88 years documented diet, alcohol and smoking habits. Linkage to mortality and hospital admissions to the end of 2002 provided longitudinal data for modelling of coronary heart disease endpoints and all-cause mortality using Cox regression.


Coronary heart disease risk increased with smoking (HR 2.62, 95% CI: 1.19, 5.75), consumption of processed meats >once/week (HR 2.21, 95% CI: 1.05, 4.63), eggs >twice/week (HR 2.59, 95% CI: 1.11, 6.04) and using spreads on bread (HR 3.14. 95% CI: 1.03, 9.61). All-cause mortality risk was lower with exercise >once/week (HR 0.51, 95% CI 0.26, 1.05), increased in ex-drinkers (HR 3.66, 95% CI: 1.08, 12.47), heavy drinkers (HR 5.26, 95% CI: 1.46, 7.52) and with consumption of take away foods >nine times/month (HR 1.78, 95% CI 0.96, 3.29). Greater alcohol intake, smoking and adverse dietary choices clustered in 53% of men and 56% of women and increased risk of coronary heart disease (HR 2.1, 95% CI: 1.1, 4.0) and all-cause mortality (HR 2.3, 95% CI: 1.2, 4.2).


Lifestyle in Aboriginal Australians predicts coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality. Clustering of adverse behaviours is common and increases risk of coronary heart disease and death.

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