Housing conditions associated with recurrent gastrointestinal infection in urban Aboriginal children in NSW, Australia: findings from SEARCH

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the associations between housing and gastrointestinal infection in Aboriginal children in urban New South Wales.

Methods:

A total of 1,398 Aboriginal children were recruited through four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. Multilevel regression modelling of survey data estimated associations between housing conditions and recurrent gastrointestinal infection, adjusting for sociodemographic and health factors.

Results:

Of the sample, 157 children (11%) had recurrent gastrointestinal infection ever and 37 (2.7%) required treatment for recurrent gastrointestinal infection in the past month. Children in homes with 3+ housing problems were 2.51 (95% CrI 1.10, 2.49) times as likely to have recurrent gastrointestinal infection ever and 6.79 (95% CrI 2.11, 30.17) times as likely to have received recent treatment for it (versus 0–2 problems). For every additional housing problem, the prevalence of recurrent gastrointestinal infection ever increased by a factor of 1.28 (95% CrI 1.14, 1.47) and the prevalence of receiving treatment for gastrointestinal infection in the past month increased by a factor of 1.64 (95% CrI 1.20, 2.48).

Conclusions:

Housing problems were independently associated with recurrent gastrointestinal infection in a dose-dependent manner.

Implications for public health:

The role of housing as a potential determinant of health in urban Aboriginal children merits further attention in research and policy settings.

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