There are particular priority population groups that are achieving significantly poorer health outcomes compared to the rest of Australia. These populations can be cultural such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, who have health statistics that match developing worlds. They can also be environmental such as rural and remote living people, who have limited access to health care facilities and services. The priority population groups can also be age based, such as the elderly or based on economical standing such as those with low socioeconomic status.
Epidemiology provides come statistics on these population groups and allows the government to identify priority population groups that need extra resources in order to remove the gap in health outcomes. It also further advances our knowledge of the sociocultural, socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health. Some examples of epidemiology include:
- males have higher rates of cancer than females
- ATSI males and females can expect to live 10 years less than the non-ATSi population
- People in remote areas have higher death rates than urban dwellers
- Lower oral health is found in people of lower socioeconomic status
Priority population groups then become the focus of health promotion initiatives. They receive more funding and health programs get developed to meet their particular needs. For example the royal flying doctors service that functions in remote areas.