The original participants involved primary school children with a mean age at baseline of 9 years. There was a total of 2267 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants from across urban, regional and remote New South Wales. The traditional risk factors (hypertension, obesity, albuminuria) for chronic disease were common but transient for both groups.
This phase of ARDAC has shown that the prevalence of risk factors for chronic kidney and cardiovascular disease - proteinuria, albuminuria, hypertension, obesity - are not increased in aboriginal children compared with non- Aboriginal children from the same geographical areas. However, as participants enter into adolescence disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants start to appear. For instance, Aboriginal girls are more likely to be overweight or obese and are therefore more likely to have albuminuria, increasing their risk of developing kidney disease.
During this phase we have endeavoured to validate previous findings of an emerging difference between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants by following them into adulthood and by including the social determinants. To enable this to happen we continue to work with Aboriginal community controlled health services across New South Wales to carry out kidney health screenings in the community. This phase of collaboration will deliver the evidence-base for the prevention and management of kidney problems, heart disease and diabetes for the future.
In 2021, ARDAC evolved into a data linkage project to evaluate the cohort’s healthcare utilisation and kidney health trajectory.
The breadth and scope of this data linkage is unique, making it the largest dataset focused on the emergence of chronic disease and kidney health of First Nations Peoples anywhere in the world. There are three main aims for Phase 4 of ARDAC. The first is to determine the life-course of the development of chronic disease from childhood to adulthood among Aboriginal peoples. The second is to understand the complex interplay between a range of sociodemographic factors, such as age, gender, socioeconomic disadvantage and geography, in the development of chronic disease among Aboriginal peoples, from childhood to adulthood. While the third is to use these understandings to inform the development, implementation and evaluation of a range of community co-designed programs and services in partnership with Aboriginal community-controlled health services in New South Wales, Australia.