Health can be defined in various ways but in an ‘Indigenous Persons’ perspective health means not just the physical well being of an individuals relative and dynamic health but also refers to the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being.
The relative nature of health refers to how we judge our level of health in a period of time or when compared to others in the indigenous population. When comparing Indigenous Australian’s health with non-Indigenous Australians the amount of poor health of aboriginals in Australia is now so low that almost half of Native men and over a third of women die before they turn 50 whilst the non-indigenous population is estimated to live for 81 years.
The dynamic view of health refers to how our level of health is always changing. This can be month to month, day to day or over long periods of time for example comparing your health when you were a child to comparing it as an adult.
The life expectancy for indigenous Australians is currently 69 years for men and females are estimated at 73. When compared to non-Indigenous Australians the life expectancy shows that non-indigenous people live 10 years more than Indigenous Australians. Major individual, social, economic and environmental factors have a huge impact on the results of the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians.
This is detrimental to their current life expectancy and health organisations, politicians and communities have recognised the need to change and enhance their lives.
Significant inequalities exist in the health status for Aboriginal People, leading to a much poorer level of health when compared with non-indigenous people.
Health inequalities can have a major impact on individual’s health determinants. A health determinant is a range of factors that can impact both positively and negatively on the health status of aboriginal people. These factors are classified as individual, sociocultural, socioeconomic and environmental, which than branch off into their own subs categories.
Each Indigenous person has their own individual health determinant and the way each of them controls or uses their determinants is completely different to others. Some individual health determinants cannot be changed, for example genetics, age and gender all cannot be changed. Individual factors that relate to a young person’s genetics, skills, knowledge and attitudes can be modifiable and others non-modifiable. Because of this, it is the individual that needs to play an important role in their health factors.
Sociocultural, socioeconomic and environmental factors also impact individual health determinants in the cultural group of Indigenous Australians. These factors play a significant role in health determination because resources for health may be costly to some, unavailable in their remote communities or are insignificant in their daily lives.