Research led by University of South Australia PhD candidate Katharine McBride has found what makes the heart strong for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Did you know, the life expectancy of Aboriginal women is 75.6 years, compared to 83.4 years for non-Aboriginal women?

According to McBride’s paper, ‘Good Heart: Telling Stories of Cardiovascular Protective and Risk Factors for Aboriginal Women’, the current approach to heart health is not working because the model of care fails to meet Aboriginal women’s cultural needs.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal women and McBride’s study explains what changes are needed to meet the 2031 Closing the Gap target.

Anna Dowling, a Yamatji Badimia woman and Research Assistant at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, is a member of the advisory group who worked on the study.

The advisory group agreed that Aboriginal women’s voices need to be prioritised to understand what protects the heart and puts it at risk.