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social health atlas of SA « Previous | |Next »
December 21, 2005

A social health atlast on SA has been released by the University of Adelaide's Public Health Information Development Unit. This is the region's first social health atlas and it was prepared for the South Australian Department of Health.

The argument from the interpretation of the data is simple. Half of the SA's population lives in regions with alarming health inequalities, leading to higher rates of obesity, cancer and early death.

The Atlas confirms what we suspected in terms of the geographial spread of inequality.The most disadvantaged people in the Central Northern Adelaide Health Service area (Playford, Salisbury, Elizabeth and Port Adelaide areas) .have a greater chance of being obese and having diabetes and lung cancer and use health services more often.

The degree of inequality is disturbing. The most disadvantaged men and women in the region are, respectively, 59 per cent and 36 per cent more likely to be obese than their most advantaged counterparts. The most disadvantaged were 33 per cent more likely to report a mental health or behavioural problem and were 17 per cent more likely to have arthritis. The most disadvantaged men were nearly twice as likely to die prematurely, the most disadvantaged women 51 per cent more likely to die early.

And the most disadvantaged are 2.3 times more likely to attend hospital casualty departments, 2.4 times more likely to have consultations with specialists and 2.3 times more likely to be admitted to public hospitals.

Clearly, a greater emphasis on primary care is needed to lessen the use of hospital casualty departments and to address obesity.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:14 PM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

Skimming through some of the material, while it seems to me sensible, I suspect it is the kind of thinking that would be unacceptable to the Federal Government. For example, a social gradient of health outcomes contradicts the notion of a classless society. I do not believe that this is a trivial observation, since we might want to suppose that public policy is predicated on science, not, for example, economic ideology.

Wmmmb,

true, but we also have a state Labor Government and they are also responsible for health care in South Australia.