Gestational diabetes among Aboriginal Australians: prevalence, time trend, and comparisons with non-Aboriginal Australians

Ethn Dis. Winter 2003;13(1):55-60.


Objective: This paper investigates the prevalence, trends, and risk factors of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in the Aboriginal population in Australia, and provides comparisons to the non-Aboriginal population.

Design: A retrospective population analysis of all deliveries (230,011) that took place in the state of South Australia between 1988 and 1999, inclusive. Data were obtained from the Pregnancy Outcome Unit of the Department of Human Services in South Australia, and include information on the demographical characteristics and medical status of both mothers and babies.

Main outcome measures: Gestational diabetes mellitus prevalence rate among Aboriginal mothers, as compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

Results: The age-standardized GDM rate for Aboriginal mothers was found to be more than 2.5 times higher than that for non-Aboriginal mothers; there have been no significant changes, nor any decrease (as some previous studies have suggested), in this trend over the time period considered in this study.

Conclusions: Clearly, the prevalence of GDM, however it is measured or defined, is still significantly higher in the Aboriginal population of Australia, as compared to the country's non-Aboriginal population. Researchers in the health field should target appropriate public health programs, such as universal screenings for GDM conditions, and health promotion procedures, toward the Aboriginal community.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors