Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020) Australia’s health 2020: data insights, AIHW, Australian Government. doi:10.25816/5f05371c539f3
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Australia’s health 2020: data insights. Canberra: AIHW.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2020: data insights. AIHW, 2020.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2020: data insights. Canberra: AIHW; 2020.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020, Australia’s health 2020: data insights, AIHW, Canberra.
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Australia’s health 2020: data insights presents an overview of health data in Australia and explores selected health topics in 10 original articles.
Australia’s health 2020 is the 17th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This edition has a new format and expanded product suite:
People’s health service and medication use can change in the 6 months before and after entry into permanent aged-care
Suicide prevention requires a multi-sector approach with health and welfare related professionals and organisations
Health data are essential for supporting evidence-based decisions for better health outcomes for all Australians
Housing provides shelter and safety, and lack of available health hardware can lead to illness or injury
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes social determinants of health as ‘the structural determinants and conditions of daily life’—that is, the conditions of work or leisure; people’s homes, communities and environments; and their access to education and health care (WHO CSDH 2008). People’s opportunities and circumstances are shaped by the distribution of power, income, goods and services, which are in turn affected by policy choices, and are a major component of health inequities between and within countries.
Commonly recognised social determinants of health include housing, education, employment, income, and social networks and connections. For Indigenous Australians and other Indigenous peoples across the world, cultural factors—including connection with land and waters, identity, and language, as well as the ongoing effects of dispossession, marginalisation, racism, and discrimination—also play a key role in influencing health outcomes (Figure 4.1).
Other important social determinants affecting health outcomes include:
The social determinants of health act through complex and multidirectional pathways, and underlie a broad range of poor health and welfare outcomes. A combination of factors may act at the community and the individual level to influence health. For example, an individual’s level of education and household income may influence their food choices, while the area in which they live may affect the availability and cost of various foods.
Other articles in this report and the Australia’s health 2020 snapshots (for example, ‘Social determinants of health’ and ‘Social determinants and Indigenous health’) detail the range of social determinants and how they relate to health; their impact throughout life; and their contribution to the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This article examines key health conditions disproportionately impacting Indigenous Australians, which are affected by housing conditions and access to services.
Two of the critical factors connecting housing conditions to health are the impact of overcrowding and the state of domestic health hardware. ‘Health hardware’ refers to the physical equipment needed to support good health. This includes safe electrical systems; access to water; working taps, showers, and sinks with plugs; toilets; waste and wastewater removal systems; and facilities needed for the safe storage and preparation of food. If any of these facilities are unavailable, not working, or inadequate to support the number of residents, illness or injury can occur. Also implicit in this is that local infrastructure should minimise environmental health risks, by providing access to safe drinking water, and by supporting sanitation and waste management services.
Source: Adapted from Osborne, Baum & Brown 2013.
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