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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are aborigines at a higher risk of heart disease?

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  • John Stevens

    Exercise Physiologist

    John is an exercise physiologist and owner of Kinetic Medicine, an Exercise Physiology practice with 5 clinics on the NSW Mid North Coast. John is … View Profile

    Indigenous Australians and many other people groups from different ethnicities are at higher risk of heart disease, including the indigenous populations of Asia and North & South America. What this actually means is that the bar, as far as behaviours required to improve prevention is higher. Where as a white male may need to maintain a waist circumference below 94cm to reduce their risk of cardiovascular and other diseases, the threshold for people of these ethnicities is lower though there are no specified guidelines.

    A healthy lifestyle incorporating good dietary and exercise habits can stil provide the same risk lowering benefits for indigenous peoples as it can for the rest fo the population and for more advice speak to your GP about referral to an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and/or Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

  • Nicole Senior

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist, consultant, author, speaker and food and health enthusiast. I love talking and writing about food and health.(please note, … View Profile

    Unfortunately yes. Following on from John, in practical terms this means our indigenous brothers and sisters need to be more vigilant about having their risk factors checked out by a doctor at an earlier age- starting in their thirties.
    Why is the risk increased? Put simply, indigenous Australians are hunters and gathers at heart (and in their genes). The modern food environment of excess food, processed food and reduced physical activity is especially harmful to their metabolism. Research has shown going back to traditional ways of eating- including bush tucker - is very beneficial, albeit impractical for most people now living in cities. But such extreme measures are not necessary to reduce risk, and healthy family meals and a more active lifestyle work well to keep our first Australians well.

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