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Australia's Aborigines Affected by Poor Health: Experts

A majority of Australia's indigenous Aborigines are affected by poor health traits, according to the country's medical association .

The biggest health threat facing the upcoming generation is obesity.

According to the Australian Medical Association (AMA), instant first-rate health care in Australia is a presumption and immunisation is the birthright of every child, but poor health traits normally visible among Third World children are, in fact, present in Australian communities - and at rates significantly higher than in the general population.

The AMA and experts claim that Aboriginal children are at least 150 years behind on every kind of social indicator. AMA President Dr Rosanna Capolingua pledged on Sunday to get Aboriginal health back on track.

Speaking on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the referendum that gave indigenous Australians the right to be counted in the census, Dr. Capolingua was quoted by as saying that the health issues among Aborigines was "mortifying".

Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough conceded that living standards in some Aboriginal communities had "gone backwards" and Labor unveiled part of its $260 million plan to improve Aboriginal children's lives.

Australia's first professor of Aboriginal health Michael Gracey says Aboriginal children face problems that should be confined to history books.

"They're often of low birth weight; they have often been inadequately fed for months and months; they've often had repeated infections and parasitic infestations that have debilitated them. That makes the situation worse, because they get into a vicious cycle of poverty, malnutrition, disease and infection. This is what happens with undernourished children in Indonesia, South America, the poorer countries of Africa and refugee camps in Pakistan," he was quoted, as saying.

"These children are barely coping; they're o n a knife edge. Any severe infection like pneumonia or gastro is likely to tip them over. They may even die," he added.


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