A systematic review on research into the effectiveness of group-based sport and exercise programs designed for Indigenous adults

Published:November 20, 2015DOI:



      To evaluate research into the effectiveness of group-based sport and exercise programs targeting Indigenous adults on anthropometric, physiological and quality of life outcomes.


      A systematic review with quality assessment of study design.


      A computer-based literature search of EBSCO, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, Informit, Scopus, Web of Science, Medline, PubMed, Global Health, ProQuest and Discover databases was conducted. Methodological quality of individual articles was assessed using McMasters University Guidelines and Appraisal Forms for Critical Review for Quantitative Research. Results of the effectiveness of programs are then summarised.


      Six articles were identified with critical appraisal scores ranging from 6 to 12 (from a possible 15 points), with a mean score of 9.6. Five articles were of moderate to good quality. Significant improvements were observed in anthropometric, physiological and quality of life outcomes across all studies. Elements of successful group-based exercise and sport programs corresponded to global recommendations on physical activity for health for 18 to 64 year olds, and were implemented over a period of time ranging from 12 to 24 weeks to exhibit results, plus community consultation in developing programs and nutrition education.


      Group-based programs that include nutrition, exercise and/or sport components are effective in producing short to intermediate term health outcomes among Indigenous adults. Further high quality research, specifically on group-based modified sport programs for Indigenous adults that are culturally appropriate and aim to improve quality of life are needed.


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