Groundbreaking study of Indigenous health 


The world's largest and longest study of Indigenous health is currently happening in the Northern Territory.

Hundreds of babies born in Royal Darwin Hospital in the 1980s have been followed through to adulthood. The study has been researching a link between low birth weight and the high incidence of chronic disease.

Dr Sue Sayers, Menzies School of Health Research, says waist circumference is a measure of central obesity and central obesity is related to type two diabetes and heart disease among other things.

25 per cent of Indigenous Australians are small at birth compared with about 10 per cent in the wider population.

Study participant, Rachael Chisholm says that being involved in the study has influenced her lifestyle to reduce the risk of diabetes.

“The European influence of junk food has altered Indigenous people’s lifestyles and the detrimental effects are evident through this study,” she said.

Dr Sayers will now include non-Indigenous babies in her research as a part of an extension of her original study.

For more information contact the Menzies School of Health Research at