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Qld indigenous life expectancy improving

AAP logoAAP 16/11/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Life expectancy for indigenous Queenslanders has increased by one year but is still a decade shorter than their non-indigenous counterparts.

The narrowing of the gap was detailed within a biennial snapshot of the health of Queenslanders, released by Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young on Wednesday.

While life expectancy in Australia continued to be among the highest in the world - and had increased by two years in Queensland in a decade - the discrepancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Queenslanders remained troubling.

"We're starting to see a narrowing of the gap between the health outcomes of indigenous Queenslanders and non-indigenous Queenslanders," Dr Young said.

"Over the last five years, there's been a one-year narrowing of that (life expectancy) gap."

Dr Young said that improvement was in line with other states.

But despite the change, the report showed indigenous Queenslanders still died on average 10 years younger than their non-indigenous counterparts.

"At least we're starting to see some traction with the initiatives we've got in place," Dr Young said.

A significant part of the health gap was because of an over-representation of indigenous Queenslanders in smoking data.

The state's adult smoking rate had fallen to 12 per cent, with fewer than six per cent of adolescents reporting they had smoked within the past week.

But indigenous Queenslanders smoked at more than double the rate of non-indigenous Queenslanders, Dr Young said.

"Pregnant Indigenous women smoke at four times the rate of their non-Indigenous Queensland counterparts," she added.

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