International research shows low weight (LBW) at birth is linked to later chronic adult disease. If this can be confirmed in the Aboriginal population it will provide a solid foundation for directed interventions to reduce chronic diseases and decrease the premature Aboriginal adult mortality associated with these conditions.

The project showed that a dataset of over 3000 Aboriginal newborns born between 1972-1986 at the Royal Darwin Hospital had good linkage with hospital admissions for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory up to the current time. However at the current age of this cohort, for hospital admissions for chronic diseases, Aboriginal people born LBW did not have more hospital admissions for chronic diseases than Aboriginal people born non-LBW.

The next stage of this project will:

  • Incorporate a data linkage activity with admissions for communicable diseases to analyse if admissions for those who were LBW are higher than those who were non-LBW and publish it in refereed journal.
  • Seek ethics approval to link the Alan Walker (ACW) dataset, a historic collection of Aboriginal birth weight data started in 1972 dataset with the primary health care medical records of chronic disease admissions at Royal Darwin Hospital between 1973 and 1986. Also to analyse the relationship between Aboriginal babies born LBW and a higher demand for primary health care, as well as comparing the leading causes of death for this populatiuon and Aboriginal babies born non-LBW.

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