NEW WORLD SYNDROME IN WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES

Authors

  • Michael Gracey

    Corresponding author
    1. Aboriginal Health Policy and programmes Branch, Health Department of Western Australia, and School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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Dr M. Gracey, Aboriginal Health Branch, Health Department of Western Australia, 189 Royal Street, Perth, WA 6004, Australia.

SUMMARY

1. It has become clear over the past 25 years that Aborigines in Western Australia (WA) now experience very high rates of type 2 diabetes mellitus and its complications as well as hypertension and cardiovascular disease; these disorders are often associated with obesity and abnormalities of plasma lipids.

2. This experience is similar to that of Aboriginal people in other parts of Australia and to other previously traditional societies now in transition to an ubanized, Westernized existence; this is widely attributed to lifestyle factors and genetic susceptibility.

3. This so-called ‘New World Syndrome’ is responsible for disproportionately high levels of morbidity and mortality in the Aboriginal population of WA; prevention and improved methods of screening, detection and management are needed to reduce this problem.

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