COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

The health of overseas-born Australians, 1994-1996

K Strong, P Trickett, K Bhatia
Australian Health Review: a Publication of the Australian Hospital Association 1998, 21 (2): 124-33
10181680
Analysis of mortality, hospital separations and self-reported health indicators by country of birth group has confirmed that overseas-born populations are generally in better health than their Australian-born contemporaries. The better health of the overseas-born may be reflected in both the willingness and eligibility of individuals to emigrate. Overseas-born individuals were placed into one of four groups according to place of birth. These included the United Kingdom and Ireland, Other Europe, Asia and Other. All population groups reported lower mortality and hospitalisation rates for all causes of disease combined. The Asian-born population had the lowest mortality rates with 38% less mortality for males and 30% less for females. Hospitalisation rates were also lower for the Asian-born, with males and females having 46% and 37% fewer hospital separations compared to the Australian-born population. However, diabetes mortality was greater for males and females from Other Europe, Asia and Other regions. Both males and females from the United Kingdom and Ireland group showed increased mortality from lung cancer. Mortality and hospitalisation for cervical cancer was also significantly higher for Asian-born and Other females. The mortality and hospitalisation data corresponded well with self-reported prevalence of health-related risk factors. For example, self-reported diabetes prevalence was higher for the Other Europe, Asia and Other groups. Asian and Other females reported significantly less use of regular Pap smear tests, reflecting their increased mortality and hospitalisation for cervical cancer. These results support the finding of past studies that the health of migrants is generally better than that of the Australian-born population and reflects a 'healthy migrant' effect.

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