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Indigenous Australians are under-represented in longitudinal ageing studies

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Correspondence to: Prof Kaarin Anstey, Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR), Building 63 Eggleston Road, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200; e-mail: kaarin.anstey@anu.edu.au

Abstract

Objective: Evidence-based policy depends on the availability of high-quality research that is relevant to the population. This study aimed to identify the available data on the health of older Indigenous Australians in population-based longitudinal studies of ageing.

Approach: Evaluation of the Dynamic Analyses to Optimise Ageing Project (DYNOPTA) dataset that has pooled nine Australian longitudinal ageing studies, six of which were analysed here.

Main outcome measures: Proportions of the DYNOPTA sample identified as Indigenous.

Results: Indigenous participants made up 0.7% of males and 0.5% of females in the weighted sample, compared with 0.8% of both sexes in the Australian population. Indigenous under-representation is greater at ages 45–54 than at older ages, despite overall greater participation in this age range.

Conclusions and implications: Within the existing Australian longitudinal ageing studies, Indigenous Australians are under-represented. This means there is a significant gap in the evidence base relating to the health of older Indigenous Australians. Research approaches specifically designed to address the health and wellbeing of older Indigenous Australians are urgently required.

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