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Temporal trends in weight and current weight-related behaviour of Australian Aboriginal school-aged children

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The health status of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereafter Aboriginal) children is comparatively poorer than for non-Aboriginal Australian children.1 Such health inequalities may be confounded by social disadvantage. However, Aboriginal adults report higher rates of lifestyle behavioural risk factors associated with chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.1 Given the gap in health status experienced by Aboriginal people, there is a need to focus preventive efforts in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood to minimise risks of chronic diseases later in life.2,3 Accordingly, obtaining representative population data on Aboriginal children’s lifestyle behaviour is a priority to understand how best to attenuate chronic disease risk during childhood.

Some evidence suggests that there are no significant differences between school-aged Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in the prevalence of overweight and obesity.4,5 However, other studies among preschool-aged children show significantly higher rates of overweight and obesity in Aboriginal compared with non-Aboriginal children,6,