Effect of nutrition interventions on diet-related and health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: A systematic review

Josephine Gwynn, Kyra Sim, Tania Searle, Alistair Senior, Amanda Lee, Julie Brimblecombe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To review the literature on nutrition interventions and identify which work to improve diet-related and health outcomes in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Study design Systematic review of peer-reviewed literature. Data sources MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, Science Direct, CINAHL, Informit, PsychInfo and Cochrane Library, Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet. Study selection Peer-reviewed article describing an original study; published in English prior to December 2017; inclusion of one or more of the following outcome measures: nutritional status, food/dietary/nutrient intake, diet-related biomedical markers, anthropometric or health measures; and conducted with Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Data extraction and synthesis Two independent reviewers extracted data and applied the Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies from the Effective Public Health Practice Project. A purpose designed tool assessed community engagement in research, and a framework was applied to interventions to report a score based on numbers of settings and strategies. Heterogeneity of studies precluded a meta-analysis. The effect size of health outcome results were estimated and presented as forest plots. Results Thirty-five articles (26 studies) met inclusion criteria; two rated moderate in quality; 12 described cohort designs; 18 described interventions in remote/very remote communities; none focused solely on urban communities; and 11 reported moderate or strong community engagement. Six intervention types were identified. Statistically significant improvements were reported in 14 studies of which eight reported improvements in biochemical/haematological markers and either anthropometric and/or diet-related outcomes. Conclusions Store-based intervention with community health promotion in very remote communities, fiscal strategies and nutrition education and promotion programmes show promise. Future dietary intervention studies must be rigorously evaluated, provide intervention implementation details explore scale up of programmes, include urban communities and consider a multisetting and strategy approach. Strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community engagement is essential for effective nutrition intervention research and evaluation. PROSPERO registration number CRD42015029551.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere025291
Number of pages15
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • indigenous
  • primary care
  • public health

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