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Background Indigenous Australians and New Zealanders have a significantly shorter life expectancy than non-Indigenous people, mainly due to differences in prevalence of chronic diseases. Physical activity helps in the prevention and management of chronic diseases, however, activity levels are lower in Indigenous than in non-Indigenous people. Objective To synthesise the literature on the effects of physical activity interventions for Indigenous people in Australia and New Zealand on activity levels and health outcomes. Methods The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, SPORTSDiscus and PsycINFO were searched for peer-reviewed articles and grey literature was searched. Interventions targeted Indigenous people in Australia or New Zealand aged 18+ years and their primary or secondary aim was to increase activity levels. Data were extracted by one author and verified by another. Risk of bias was assessed independently by two authors. Data were synthesised narratively. Results 407 records were screened and 13 studies included. Interventions included individual and group based exercise programs and community lifestyle interventions of four weeks to two years. Six studies assessed physical activity via subjective (n = 4) or objective (n = 2) measures, with significant improvements in one study. Weight and BMI were assessed in all but one study, with significant reductions reported in seven of 12 studies. All five studies that used fitness tests reported improvements, as did four out of eight measuring blood pressure and seven out of nine in clinical markers. Conclusions There was no clear evidence for an effect of physical activity interventions on activity levels, however, there were positive effects on activity related fitness and health outcomes.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access