Promoting physical activity among native american youth: A systematic review of the methodology and current evidence of physical activity interventions and community-wide initiatives

Sheila Fleischhacker, Erica Roberts, Ricky Camplain, Kelly R. Evenson, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Promoting physical activity using environmental, policy, and systems approaches could potentially address persistent health disparities faced by American Indian and Alaska Native children and adolescents. To address research gaps and help inform tribally led community changes that promote physical activity, this review examined the methodology and current evidence of physical activity interventions and community-wide initiatives among Native youth. A keyword-guided search was conducted in multiple databases to identify peer-reviewed research articles that reported on physical activity among Native youth. Ultimately, 20 unique interventions (described in 76 articles) and 13 unique community-wide initiatives (described in 16 articles) met the study criteria. Four interventions noted positive changes in knowledge and attitude relating to physical activity but none of the interventions examined reported statistically significant improvements on weight-related outcomes. Only six interventions reported implementing environmental, policy, and system approaches relating to promoting physical activity and generally only shared anecdotal information about the approaches tried. Using community-based participatory research or tribally driven research models strengthened the tribal-research partnerships and improved the cultural and contextual sensitivity of the intervention or community-wide initiative. Few interventions or community-wide initiatives examined multi-level, multi-sector interventions to promote physical activity among Native youth, families, and communities. More research is needed to measure and monitor physical activity within this understudied, high risk group. Future research could also focus on the unique authority and opportunity of tribal leaders and other key stakeholders to use environmental, policy, and systems approaches to raise a healthier generation of Native youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-624
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of racial and ethnic health disparities
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Active living
  • Alaskan Natives
  • American Indians
  • Exercise
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Anthropology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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