Health protection for Aboriginal people
Life is full of choices and some of our choices become habits. Some habits are good for us and some are bad. By making healthy choices and changing your habits, you can protect your health and stay strong. These healthy choices are good for you for three reasons. They protect you from getting sick. If you are sick, they can help you get better. And the kids around you see you’re setting a good example.
Sometimes a person will have early signs of an illness but not know it. By getting tests done regularly, these signs can be picked up early and you can get treated before you get sick.
Smoking is bad for your health and for the health of anyone near you. And it’s also very bad for your baby if you’re pregnant. Because smoking is addictive, it can be hard to quit, but it’s never too late to stop. When you stop smoking, your body starts repairing itself back to being strong again. There are lots of free support and counselling programmes to help you quit.
Drinking too much grog and using drugs like Cannabis or ganja can have serious effects on your life now and into the future and on your baby if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. There are many programmes available to help you quit drugs and drink less grog.
What you eat and drink makes a huge difference to your health. Eating more healthy food and eating less unhealthy food will go a long way into protecting your health. It’s also important to only eat as much as you need to. Healthy foods include fresh veggies, fruit, Bush tucker and water rather than sweet soft drinks. Unhealthy food includes sugary drinks like juice and soft drinks, meats with lots of fat on it and food that’s high in salt, fat or sugar. It’s important to only eat as much as you need to. Eating more than you need to can lead to overweight and obesity. When you do eat, enjoy it. By eating more slowly and enjoying food, you’ll leave enough time for your body to know it’s full and this can help you eat less.
To stay healthy, do your regular exercise, enough to make you a bit breathless for about 45 minutes, five to six days a week. If you are overweight or obese, you will need to cut back on food portions and do more exercise to get down to a weight that’s healthy for you. Do exercise you enjoy. You could join a local sports team, run in a group or play traditional games. Exercise is so good for your body and your mind. We all need exercise to stay strong. Being overweight and obese can lead to serious health problems. By eating good food and doing enough physical exercise, you can work towards a healthy weight and maintain it for life.
There’s a lot you can do to keep your mind strong. Spend quality time with your friends, family and community. Practise being grateful. Every day, spend a few minutes being thankful for the good things you have in your life. Practise being kind to other people. Find out what you’re good at and do more of it. Do activities that carry you away. This might be painting, dancing or playing sports. Get connected to your spiritual beliefs and traditional practices.
It’s good to get a health check done at your medical service once every year, even if you feel fine. Your doctor can do an indigenous health check to see how your health is and to see if there’s anything else that can be done now, to help you live a longer and stronger life. For example, it’s recommended that everyone aged 50 to 74 does a bowel cancer screening test. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo and it’s recommended you do the test every two years. If the cancer is caught early and you get treatment quickly, it can be curative. The same goes for cervical and breast cancer screening in women.
It’s good to visit your medical service anytime you have worries about your health, even if you think it’s something small. Talk to your medical service regularly to find out more about how you can keep you and your family’s health strong.
Last Reviewed: 13/07/2020
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Diabetes - Aboriginal health
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Early childhood - Aboriginal families
Your child is important to the whole community and we can all help them grow up strong, healthy and proud. The most important thing our children need is to feel loved, cared for and safe.