Stats Vs Impact

The Yolngu Reality

1. Prevalence of rheumatic heart disease is 36 times higher for males and 28 times higher for females for Aboriginals living in the Top End, when compared to non-­Indigenous people.

2. Overall, diabetes is around four times more common among Indigenous people than among other Australians.

3 . Chronic disease is responsible for 80% of the mortality gap between Indigenous and non-­Indigenous Australians, with diabetes accounting for 12% of this.

4. Cardiovascular Disease was the leading cause of death of Indigenous people in 2012. It was responsible for 25% of the deaths of Indigenous people living in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT.

5. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes contribute to mortality rates for chronic disease up to 10-15 times higher in the Indigenous population than the non-Indigenous population.

6. Overall mortality rates for chronic diseases are 10-15 times higher in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

7. Compared to non-indigenous people, Aboriginal Australians are six times more likely to have End Stage Kidney Failure (ESKF requiring dialysis) with the median age of Indigenous people with ESKF being 30 years less than for non-Indigenous people.

8. Aboriginal Australians are 3 times as likely to die from kidney failure than Non indigenous.”

9. It has been found that Indigenous people aged 18 years and over were more likely than non-Indigenous people to have recorded a high blood pressure reading at a rate of 1.2 times.

10. Life expectancy gaps of 10-12 years persist between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians.

11 It cost between 50-80K per person each year for dialysis.

12. Traditional food plays a significant role in reducing and preventing serious health issues disproportionately affecting First Nations, such as obesity,diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases

Do you want to get the full story of our program?

Read our story here or view our 2017 Rural Health Conference Paper  “Preventing Chronic Disease with Nutrition and Integrative Medicine”

Our Impact

During our first Hope For Health retreat held at Living Valley Spring (Qin Qin, QLD) in 2015:

  • Participants blood sugar levels and blood pressure normalised in every case, without medication. Most lost kilos of weight, and participants reported feeling the best they could remember.
  • 88% of participants started the health retreat with a BP higher than normal (120/80). At the end, 55% had high blood pressure; at three months, all participants experienced an improvement in BP readings; and at six months 90% had retained a marked improvement.
  • 100% of participants had blood glucose levels considered out of control – >20mmol; at three months all were near normal (as reflected in HbA1c tests); at six months 60% had maintained the improvement.
  • After our first Hope For Health retreat in 2015, 75% of original group had their medications reduced.
  • Three months after our first Hope For Health retreat 100% of participants experienced a marked improvement of blood lipids and 90% of participants had reduced waist circumference; at six months, 50% of the participants had maintained this.
  • 50% of participants were smokers prior to the retreat; all quit smoking during the retreat; at three months 50% of the previous smokers remained non smokers; at six months 67% of the original smokers had successfully stopped smoking.

Our second retreat results:

In 2016 we crowdfunded over $90,000 to create the first Traditionally Grounded health retreat, held at Dharrawar, Elcho Island. 25 Yolngu participated in the first Traditional Health Retreat held on Elcho Island in August/September 2016 (19 women and 6 men)

3 months after the retreat.

  • 85% of Participants had a reduction in waist circumference (an indicator of reduced abdominal fat). Participants lost on average 8.65 cm from their waist.
  • Average weight lost for all participants was 4.79kg.
  • There was some indication of a positive impact on kidney function but numbers with data is low.  Of those with data,  72% had impaired kidney function (eGFR <90).  Of these participants, 62% improved and 38% of those had results returning to a healthy range (eGFR >90). Change ranged from 6 – 1 eGFR points improvement.  Some reductions were recorded in the order of -2 eGFR points.

87% of our participants with initial hypertensive readings greater than 140/90mmHg reduced their blood pressure result to a healthy range less than 140/90mmHg after 3 months.
  • The 3 month blood sugar indicator, HbA1c of people with diabetes went from an average of 8.3% before to 6.5% after 3 month of health coaching. The average reduced to 6.5%. Note: HbA1c is an indication of average blood sugar levels over 3 months. The recommended target for diabetics is 6.5%

Overall impact

  • 40 community cooking classes have been held between November 2015 and April 2017 with 25-30 Yolngu participants attending aged between 3 and 75 years
  • 60+ cooking sessions held with Yolngu staff to develop food preparation skills, ingredient knowledge and ability to read and scale recipes;
  • 400+ individuals have participated in the program through classes, retreats or workshops held in Galiwin’ku.

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework 2012: detail analysis. (AIHW Cat. no. IHW 94) Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

2. Indigenous HealthInfoNet (2014), “What do we know about diabetes among Indigenous people?”, Retrieved 22/10/2014 from­facts/health­faqs/diabetes

3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Contribution of chronic disease to the gap in mortality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. Canberra: AIHW, 2011. (AIHW Cat. No. IHW 48.) (accessed Oct 2012).

4. Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (2014), “What do we know about cardiovascular disease among Indigenous people?”Retrieved 22/10/2014 from http://­facts/health­faqs/cvd

5. O’Dea, K., et al., Diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors in urban Indigenous adults: Results from the DRUID study. Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 2008. 80(3): p. 483-9.

6. O’Dea, K., et al., Diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors in urban Indigenous adults: Results from the DRUID study. Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 2008. 80(3): p. 483-9.



9. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: First Results, Australia, 2012-13. 2013 27/01/2016 [cited 2016 08/04/2016]; 4727.0.55.001:[ ].

10. World Health Organisation, Global Health Observatory Data Repository: Life expectancy Data by country. , in World Health Statistics 2015. 2015, World Health Organisation: Geneva, Switzerland.



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