Indigenous mothers living in remote areas are 14 per cent less likely to have a healthy baby than mothers living in regional or city areas say Indigenous health researchers .
Dr Elizabeth Sullivan, of the School of Women's and Children's Health at the University of New South Wales and Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare National Perinatal Statistics Unit and her colleagues, examined whether remoteness of mothers usual residence affected the health of babies born to Indigenous mothers.
The results of their study are published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.
Only three out of four babies born to Indigenous mothers fell into the study's "healthy baby" category, and those born in remote areas were particularly disadvantaged.
"Our study highlights the continued need to consider the different risk profiles including remoteness of mothers when designing antenatal programs," says Dr Sullivan.
Dr Sullivan says the health of Indigenous mothers in remote areas partially explains the higher prevalence of poor health outcomes in their babies.
"Although Indigenous mothers who lived in remote areas were less likely to smoke, they were more likely to have diabetes or hypertension, and be younger - all factors associated with poor perinatal outcomes," says Dr Sullivan.
"These findings demonstrate the continuing need for urgent and concerted action to address the persistent inequity in the Indigenous population."