Deadly Choices: Transforming Health Attitudes and Behaviours in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Wednesday, 3 July 2019
Donisha Duff
Nathan Appo
Sean Yorston

Deadly Choices is the flagship preventative health brand of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) in South East Queensland (SEQ). Deadly meaning ‘good’, it aims to empower our communities to make healthier lifestyle choices and to visit their local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) for an annual health check (MBS Item 715).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led peer education on healthy lifestyle, tobacco and nutrition are at the heart of Deadly Choices. Our community and sporting events attract between 100 to 600 participants, who have had a health check.
As Australian’s largest and fastest growing region of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, IUIH SEQ active patient numbers have grown from 8,000 (2009/10) to over 35,000 (2017/18), with over 20,968 health checks completed in 2017/18.
On the south coast of New South Wales (NSW), Katungal Aboriginal Corporation has seen a marked increase in community engagement and health checks since taking on the Deadly Choices programs. Completed health checks doubled in 12 months from 636 (2016/17) to 1,363 (2017/18), leading to 2,376 follow-up appointments and 352 new patients in their first year.

This presentation will look at why Deadly Choices has been successful in engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the behaviour changes that have occurred in South East Queensland and on the NSW South Coast.